The clinking of glasses during a toast is a tradition used to bring together a crowd both physically and emotionally. The sound of the infamous "clink" as an added sense to the senses of taste, smell and sight is also one of the originating factors for the tradition.
There are many myths that associate the clinking of glasses together to a medieval practice meant to ensure the contents of the glasses were not poisoned, and to creating a racket enough to ward off evil spirits. Neither hold water (or wine) as the practice is a much younger tradition, and the idea of using such a small noise as a clink (when compared to a church bell) to ward off evil spirits is not logical.
The physical connection of "being part" of the toast, good wishing, blessing or congratulation is the fundamental idea behind the clink. When you clink, you are physically participating in your verbal toast.
The sense of sound is a tributary reason for the clinking of glasses; as taste, smell and sight are already present in the consumption of wine or spirits, adding an audible sense completes the experience.
Bringing the glasses together in a clink also acts as a unifying movement to bring cohesiveness and connection to the party; once all together in one bottle, the former contents of the wine bottle come together in one last union before they are divided and consumed by the party members.
In English, the word accompanying a clink is "cheers," in French "santé," in German "prost," in Portuguese "saúde" and in Spanish "salud."
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of melalouise
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