How People from Around the World Say ‘Cheers’

The *clink* of two glasses before drinking is a pretty universal salute across the world. However, with so many different cultures and languages, the word “cheers” can take on many forms. We’re breaking down a few of our favorite ways to toast abroad!

Iceland

In Iceland, it is customary to use the word Skál (pronounced “sk owl”) to say cheers. Depending on who you ask, this term can take on a few different meanings:

  • “Skull” — It is said that the Vikings used the skulls of people they killed to toast and drink mead. 
  • “Bowl” — Its history dates back to Scotland, where people were encouraged to finish their drink when honoring someone. 
  • “Shell” — Which has the same history as bowl. 

Regardless of which you choose to believe, the important part is knowing to toast with the word Skál for any future Icelandic travels!

Thailand

There are several ways to say cheers in the Thai language. The original Thai way to say cheers is “Chon – kaew!” ชนแก้ว, which literally means hitting glasses. However, you can also say “Chai- yooo.” ไซโย, which is a common word used when celebrating. The more drinks you’ve had, the more likely you are to add a few extra ‘o’s!

Mexico

If you’ve traveled to any Spanish-speaking countries, you’re probably familiar with the word “¡Salud!” It is the most common way to say cheers in Mexico, as well as most Latin American countries. But if you’re with friends and looking to laugh, you could also say, with your cup in your hand, “arriba, abajo, al centro y para dentro” (up, down, to center and into) before drinking!

New Zealand

While visiting New Zealand, specifically the North Island, you may hear “Chur bro,” which means “Cheers, bro.” This phrase is commonly used while drinking but also in day-to-day life. You can use “Chur bro” as a compliment to mean “good work.” 

Japan

The simplest way to say cheers in Japanese is “kanpai!” The literal meaning of this phrase is “dry cup,” which is similar to “bottoms up” in America. Historically, you’d cheers with small cups of sake and you’d expected to drink it all.

Ireland

The best way to say cheers in Ireland is “Sláinte!” which is pronounced as slawn-cha. This Gaelic toast is perfect for celebrating St. Paddy’s day next week. It uses the native language of the Emerald, Isle which is slowly — but surely — making a comeback.

France

Instead of saying “cheers” while toasting, the French wish good health to the person they’re drinking with. Well, that’s how it is nowadays at least. In the past, wishing good health meant, “I hope you didn’t poison me, because if you did, I will, too.”

You can use the phrase “à votre santé” for formal occasions or “à ta santé” for relaxed situations. Both have the same meaning; the only difference is the level of politeness.

Germany

If you’ve ever celebrated Oktoberfest, you’ve probably heard the word “Prost” before. If not, perhaps you’ve visited Prost Brewing in Lohi. Either way, this German phrase and version of “cheers” is popular during party time!

Italy

The Italian word for cheers is either “Salute” or “Cin Cin.” This is usually followed by “alla nostra salute,” which means “to your health.” If you would like to make a toast, you would announce it by saying “fare un brindisi.” Of these phrases, cin cin is the most casual, and Italians love using it since the pronunciation sounds like glasses touching.

China

The popular way to say cheers in China is “gānbēi,” which translates to “dry cup.” When toasting in China, it is tradition that the elders hold their glasses higher than the youth. You also have to down your first drink and place your glass upside down to show that there is nothing left.

Egypt

While toasting in Egypt, it is customary to use the Arabic word فى صحتك (pronounced fe sahetek), which means good luck. If you’re visiting an Egyptian family, especially one with daughters, and they serve you a drink, you have to finish it. If you do not, it is believed that the daughters then won’t get married.

Greece

While toasting in Greece, it is customary to clink your glasses and say “Yamas.” The phrase literally translates to “health” and is used as a way to wish good health and prosperity to those around.

With so many new phrases to choose from, lift your glass high and get ready to mix it up the next time you toast!

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