Oktoberfest might be right around the corner and it’s time to brush up on your German. This is the more logical reason as to why you stumbled upon this post rather than just browsing the web looking to learn something new. We love our beer too and it’s important to know some local traditions and sayings so you can fit right in during your vacation. There is no better term to learn than how to say cheers as you toast locals and friends.
Cheers in German
Prost – The most common way to say cheers is Prost. The meaning is literally the definition of “cheers” in English. While enjoying a beer at a local pub or attending their famous Oktoberfest, get ready to say Prost during every drink as it’s a German tradition.
While the drinking age can range from 18-21 depending on which country you live in, it’s only 16 in Germany. Alcohol isn’t considered a bad thing and children will even cheers their family members at much earlier ages. The Germans love beer so much it’s almost part of their daily activities and is even known as “liquid bread”. If you can imagine how much bread you eat every day, it could be overwhelming to think just how much beer you will be consuming on your visit.
As far as styles of beer, Germany has always been ahead of the game with micro brews. The United States has been playing catch up and is getting pretty good, but with years of experience there are countless amounts of beers you can try before settling on your favorite. If beer isn’t your cup of tea you can also enjoy some famous brandy, schnapps, or cocktails while still raising your glass an toasting everyone around.
German Toasting Etiquette
There are a few rules you should follow when giving a cheers in Germany.
1. It’s important to wait for the all the toasting an “Prosts” said before starting to drink your beer. Even taking a small sip prior is considered rude.
2. Just like other European countries, it’s good to stare one another in the eyes. This goes back into Viking times where they would clang classes together to spill their drink into the others to make sure they weren’t poisoned. If the other person drank their glass they knew they were safe. This tradition still holds true in Germany with the rumor of seven years of bad sex or back luck if not done.
3. For formal events it’s polite to use the stem of your glass and nod.
4. For informal events you want to clang your beer or alcohol with someone using the base of your glass and not the top part.
One other toast you can give other than Prost is Zum wohl meaning “To Your Health”. Because that phrase is most often said across the world, it’s ok to give a toast to health and many locals will enjoy it.
As the largest drinking festival in the world, people from all over the world flock to German for a 2 week celebration. It started as party for a royal wedding in October of 1810 and has continued for the last 200 years. These days Oktoberfest starts in September and the first Sunday of October is when it ends.
The most notable reason for going to this event is for the drinking. Huge steins of beer can be consumed hourly while you hear the word Prost being shouted every few minutes. It’s truly something you need to experience once in your life and after going you will most likely make it a yearly tradition.