Toasting to love, friendship, health, wealth, and happiness has been practiced by almost every culture from the beginning of recorded history. As a global nomad who has traveled to over 60 countries on 7 continents, I've learned how important it is to know how to greet, thank, and say goodbye in the local language - and even more importantly - how dining and toasting in the local way can build long lasting business relationships. Regardless of when, where, or how you choose to celebrate or toast this the New Year, keep the following in mind:
1. Chinese New Year: In Asian countries and economies with significant Chinese populations such as China, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan, Chinese New Year is celebrated later than January 1st. Chinese New Year will occur on February 8th in 2016, the Year of the Monkey.
2. Clinking Glasses: Ever wondered why some people clink glasses together when toasting? In early Christian times, people believed that the devil entered the body when people swallowed alcohol, but bells chiming would deter him. So to ward off the devil, guests would clink their glasses together in order to make a bell-like sound. Today, guests are encouraged to avoid clinking glasses with everyone present, which is cumbersome and distracting. Smiling and making eye contact is a gracious way to toast.
3. First Toast: Traditionally, the host or hostess of the party offers the first toast. At a dinner party or table of friends, however, a guest can propose the first toast to thank the host for organizing the event or gathering. The word "toast" originated from the Roman practice of placing a piece of spiced, charred bread in the wine to mellow the flavor. When drinking to someone's health, the cup was always emptied completely to reach the piece of saturated toast at the very bottom.
4. Non-alcoholic toasts: Toasting is about the sentiment of the occasion. Some guests refrain from consuming alcohol for health and medical reasons. People undergoing medical treatment, in recovery, or taking certain prescription medication cannot take even "just one sip." It is impolite to insist that they do, because they can still acceptably join in the toasting with a sparkling beverage, ginger ale, club soda, seltzer, or juice. If you do not drink and are offered an alcoholic beverage, simply say 'no thank you.' Remember: it is about celebrating the occasion, not the liquid in the glass.
5. Observing Toast Boundaries: Each global culture is unique, so respect those that have their own global customs. If you don't want to be kissed by others, it is best to stay close to your date, extend your hand for a handshake, turn your cheek for an air-kiss or excuse yourself altogether just before midnight.
6. Multicultural New Year Toasts: Worldwide, many cultures toast in one form or another. 'Happy New Year' is one of the most common toasts made on New Year's Eve. Globally, you may hear and speak Cheers for the New Year and Congratulations for the New Year in various languages as follows:
Language & Spelling or Pronunciation:
Bengali S: Shuvo Noboborsho
Chinese P: Chu Shen Tan
Dutch S: Gelukkig Nieuwjaar or Fijne oudejaarsavond
French S: Bonne annee
German S: Frohes Neues Jahr / Gutes Neues Jahr
Italian S: Felice Anno Nuovo or Buon anno
Japanese P: Akemashite omedetou gozaimasu
Korean P: She heh bokmahn ee bahd euh sae yo
Polish S: Szczesliwego Nowego Roku
Portuguese S: Feliz Ano Novo
Russian P: S novim godom
Spanish S: Feliz Ano Nuevo
Thai P: Saa-wat-dii pi-mai
Turkish S: Yeliniz Kutlu Olsun/ Mutlu yillar
Vietnamese P: Chuc mung nam moi
In what language will you toast Happy New Year? We wish you and yours all the very best in 2016.