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Zdorowje

A very popular toast used in Russia - also "no Zdorowje" - which means "to health" in German. This refers above all to the national drink vodka, which in Russia is traditionally drunk from a glass of water on every occasion. Immediately after swallowing, one should bite into something salty or spicy or start eating immediately, during which the whole procedure should be repeated. For the Russians, enjoying the first glass of vodka is a significant and deeply intimate act. Everyone performs it in a special way, with their own gestures and words. If you are late for a celebration, you are "punished". You get a big glass of vodka. The glass has no foot, so it cannot be put down and must be drunk. Maybe that's why Russians are often not so punctual?

An old Russian proverb says: Drinking without toasting is drinking addiction. There are numerous very long toasts, which are spontaneously adapted or reformulated to suit the occasion. This can be, for example, a wish for possession, success or health, often preceded by a joke. Such a stylistically rounded toast is an art in itself: vodka is poison, poison is death, death is sleep, sleep is health. Shall we drink to our health. A second: We wish all women to be surrounded only by beautiful and exotic animals. That they have a jaguar in the garage, a tiger in bed, a sable around their shoulders and a donkey that can pay for all that. (source: www.reiseabenteuer-gus.de/index.htm)

In other Slavic countries there are similar toasts, these are: na Sdrawe (Bulgaria), na Zdravlje (Croatia), na Zdrowie (Poland), na Zdravie (Slovakia), na Zdravje (Slovenia), na Zdraví (Czech Republic), na Zdorovya (Ukraine). See also under customs in viticulture, intoxication, toasts, drinking culture and quotations.

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