Drinking vodka, like many other social rituals of individuals gathering to celebrate, brings with it a background of an extended and rich history and numerous traditions which have come to us down by way of the generations. The accepted rituals of toasting with vodka are rooted within the tradition, history, and traditions of Russia, though it has taken on a more worldwide character in this international age. Vodka is still a big part of the social cloth and interpersonal interactions of Russia, and is replete with numerous conventions.
Usually, in Russia as well as in the west, drinking vodka is a group activity. Groups of people indulge in Vodka drinking once they meet to party, socialize, or hang around; when they celebrate a life occasion like a birth, a death, or a wedding. Copious consumption in numerous rounds is frequent at most such gatherings. You may see people drink vodka – straight – as photographs, in traditional Russian gatherings, whereas most people mix it with something like tonic water or contemporary juices.
Making a toast with vodka
Within the western world, we endure from the misconception that the appropriate toast when drinking vodka is na zdorovie. This isn’t really an appropriate toast in Russian. It does not really mean «to your health», as you might have frequently heard. Instead, try something like za milyh dam, which means to beautiful ladies or vashe zdorovie, which means to your health.
Vodka toasts for events
The nature of the event calls for a particular kind of toast, regardless of whether the tipple is vodka or a bottle of champagne. Weddings for example, demand toasts to love, happy endings, and many years of wedded bliss for the new couple. Then again, when toasting a new baby, it is more appropriate to drink to its health and long life, and the happiness it will carry into its parents’ life. When toasting a new venture, a new dwelling, or some other live event, similarly, the event will give you a clue to possible and appropriate toasts. For example, at a wake, you must toast the deceased as the primary toast, however the glasses shouldn’t be clinked. At birthdays, toast the birthday boy/girl first, after which their parents. Marriage ceremony toasts would be to the couple, then their parents, moving on to other topics like love, comfortable life, and so on.
A sequence of vodka toasts
Over the course of a night, hardcore vodka drinkers would possibly progress via a series of toasts. If you’re in Russia, drinking vodka with a roomful of Russians, the night would possibly progress by way of some frequent steps. The first toast, made by you or another visitor, could be to propose a drink to the host of your party. This will usually be the first of a series of toasts, from one’s noble ancestors, to the company/hosts children, the ladies in the company, and abstract concepts like honor, pride, the motherland, and so on.
Ideas and warnings
Always keep primary etiquette and polite manners in mind, as well because the occasion.
It’s higher to look uninformed than to look rude or to risk insulting one’s host, or different guests.
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