Published: July 31 2023
Hungary, a country situated in Central Europe, is not only well known for its rich history and breathtaking landscapes, it also boasts vibrant cultural celebrations and traditions. One of these traditions include toasting or giving a toast, which in Hungarian is referred to as 'Egészségedre,' pronounced as Egg-esh-ay-ged-re. In English, it translates to 'For your health.'
Origins of Toasting
In Hungary, the act of toasting has been present for hundreds of years. It's believed to date back to the 1700s during the 150-year Ottoman invasion. The clinking of glasses was associated with victory celebrations; however, for over 150 years, Hungarians avoided clinking their beer due to a historic event. It was in 1848, during the Hungarian Revolution, when the Austrian generals were toasting to the execution of 13 Hungarian generals with beer glasses, after which Hungarians vowed not to clink beer glasses for 150 years. Don't worry though, this restriction has since expired and Hungarians now clink glasses, but not necessarily with beer.
Learn the Basics
When it comes to toasting in Hungarian, the word for cheers is ‘Egészségedre’. To toast someone in Hungarian, first ensure everyone has a drink. Hold your glass at chest level—do not raise it too high.
Make sure you make sincere eye contact with those you are toasting—an act that signifies trust and respect. Say 'Egészségedre,' and take a sip of your drink. The pronunciation for 'Egészségedre' can be quite a mouthful, but it's phonetically rendered as Egg-esh-ay-ged-re.
The Do's and Don’ts
There are a few conventions that are worth noting while toasting in Hungary.
- Listen politely to the person initiating the toast.
- Wait for everyone to have a drink before starting a toast.
- Make sure to have eye contact when saying 'Egészségedre'.
- Clink glasses, unless it's with beer.
- Clink glasses if it's filled with beer. While the 150-year vow has passed, it's still seen as bad luck in some quarters.
- – Start drinking before the toast has been completed.
- – Drink in one gulp after the toast is made. Take your time.
Toasting is not just a tradition; it's a social glue in the Hungarian culture that reinforces bonds and camaraderie. So the next time you find yourself in the beautiful country of Hungary, or in a gathering with Hungarian friends, you can confidently lift your glass and say 'Egészségedre'— celebrating health, life, and pleasant company.