When I’m drinking with someone else we always toast each other; even if it’s just to clink glasses. I mindlessly touch my glass with the person I’m with and at the very least simply raise the glass to the other; symbolically clinking . . . after all, that IS what is done. But why exactly do we perform that little ritual? Does the toast only really matter if you actually touch glasses? Does raising your glass and saying “clink” to the people you can’t reach count?
Russian tradition is that the only time you don’t clink glasses is when you’re drinking in honor of the dead. Conversely, if you fail to clink when making a happy toast means that someone is going to die. It seems a small thing to do to keep someone else (or yourself) from an untimely death, no? Russian’s also believe that the toast only matters if you actually touch glasses.
Note to self - do not ever go vodka shot for vodka shot with a bunch of Ukranian dudes. It happened once. The result wasn't pretty. :)
What could be worse than death?
It is a widespread European superstition that failure to make eye contact with your drinking companions as you clink results in a bad sex life for a year. That sounds pretty risky to me.
Apparently, it’s also pretty perilous to clink with an empty glass and clinking across someone else’s arm. Seriously bad luck!
Many believe that sounding the bell can help ward off evil spirits . . . the clinking of glasses after a toast was a way of getting rid of devils while drinking.
Another school of thought is that the point of striking glasses together was meant to be done so that some of the liquid from each glass would spill into the other . . . to deter someone from poisoning you.
Perhaps it is nothing more than a silly drinking game; happily clinking away as much as possible.
Whatever the reason, raising a glass and striking them together demonstrates harmony and friendship. And is a nice exclamation to punctuate the toast.