How to Say Cheers in Norway: A Toast to Norwegian Culture
When it comes to toasting and raising a glass in Norway, there are a few phrases and customs to keep in mind to ensure you blend in seamlessly with the locals. Understanding the Norwegian way of saying cheers not only allows you to participate in their vibrant drinking culture but also provides a deeper insight into the traditions and customs of this beautiful Scandinavian country. In this article, we will explore various ways to say cheers in Norway, along with some frequently asked questions and their answers.
1. Skål – The Universal Toast:
The most common way to say cheers in Norway is “Skål” (pronounced “skawl”). This term is widely used across the country and is akin to the English “Cheers!” or “To your health!” When raising your glass, make sure to make eye contact and clink glasses with everyone at the table.
2. Prosit – An Alternative Toast:
In some regions of Norway, particularly in the western parts, you might hear the term “Prosit” (pronounced “proh-seet”) being used instead of “Skål.” This German borrowing is also commonly used in other European countries and means “May it be beneficial.” It’s a great way to show your appreciation for good company and good drinks.
3. Bottoms Up – Emptying Your Glass:
When someone proposes a toast, it is customary in Norway to empty your glass before placing it back on the table. This tradition signifies respect for the toast and is considered a gesture of goodwill. However, it is not mandatory, and if you prefer to take smaller sips, it is perfectly acceptable.
4. Drinking Songs – Enhancing the Toasting Experience:
Norwegians love to sing while enjoying their drinks, especially during festive occasions. It is common to have a designated “toastmaster” who leads the group in singing traditional drinking songs known as “skålviser.” These songs add an element of merriment to the gathering and are a testament to the jovial nature of Norwegian culture.
5. Non-alcoholic Options – Catering for All:
If you prefer not to consume alcohol or are simply looking for an alternative, Norway offers a wide range of non-alcoholic options. You can say cheers with a glass of juice, soda, or even a non-alcoholic beer. The important thing is to enjoy the company and atmosphere, regardless of your drink choice.
6. Drinking Age – Legal Considerations:
In Norway, the legal drinking age is 18 for beer and wine and 20 for stronger alcoholic beverages. It is essential to abide by these laws and always carry valid identification when purchasing or consuming alcohol. Remember to drink responsibly and in moderation.
7. Tipping Etiquette – Show Your Appreciation:
While not directly related to toasting, it is worth mentioning that tipping in Norway is not mandatory, as service charges are usually included in the bill. However, leaving a small tip to show appreciation for excellent service is always welcomed. Rounding up the bill or leaving a 5-10% tip is considered generous.
FAQs: Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Are there any specific occasions where toasting is more common in Norway?
A1: Toasting is prevalent during celebrations such as birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and holidays like Christmas and New Year’s Eve. However, Norwegians often toast during casual get-togethers with friends as well.
Q2: Can I say cheers in English instead of using Norwegian phrases?
A2: While English is widely spoken in Norway, using the local phrases like “Skål” or “Prosit” adds a personal touch and shows respect for the local culture. Locals will appreciate your effort to embrace their traditions.
Q3: Is it considered impolite to decline a toast?
A3: Norwegians generally understand and respect personal choices. If you have a valid reason for not drinking, such as health or personal beliefs, politely declining the toast is perfectly acceptable.
Q4: Are there any taboos or superstitions related to toasting in Norway?
A4: It is generally considered bad luck to toast with water. Norwegians believe that toasting with water can bring misfortune. It is best to stick to non-alcoholic alternatives if you prefer not to consume alcohol.
Q5: Should I make eye contact with everyone at the table when toasting?
A5: Making eye contact with everyone during the toast is considered a sign of respect, but it is not strictly mandatory. However, it is customary to make eye contact with the person you are toasting with, at the very least.
Q6: Can I propose a toast in a formal setting, such as a business dinner?
A6: Toasting in a formal setting is less common in Norway. However, if you wish to propose a toast, ensure it is brief and appropriate to the occasion. It is advisable to gauge the atmosphere before initiating a formal toast.
Q7: Are there any specific rules for clinking glasses during the toast?
A7: When clinking glasses, it is customary to make eye contact and ensure that the edge of your glass touches the edge of the other person’s glass. However, in some informal settings, a simple raise and nod can also suffice.
In conclusion, understanding the art of toasting in Norway is a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the local culture and traditions. Remember to use phrases like “Skål” or “Prosit,” respect local customs, and embrace the joviality that accompanies a Norwegian toast. Cheers!