Different drinking rituals have come into existence from across the world, many of them bearing some historical or cultural significance. Then there are those that are or were simply the result of laws.
From around the world, we have compiled six of the most interesting drinking rituals that have existed throughout history – most of which still exist today.
1. Oktoberfest, Germany
Where would a list of drinking rituals be without the ubiquitous Oktoberfest? Originally introduced as a celebration of the marriage of King Ludwig I and Princess Therese, the 200-year-old festival is held annually and runs for sixteen days between late September and early October.
2. Communal drinking, Japan
In Japan, you could make yourself a bit of an outcast if you decided to pour your own drink among company. That’s because in Japan communal drinking is the norm. Essentially everyone pours drinks for one another but never themselves and share their drinks. It’s a means of creating a community spirit.
3. The 6 o’clock Swill, Australia
Turning our attention to our shores, the 6 o’clock swill isn’t something that exists anymore, but it did come into effect during WWI. More a law than a ritual, bars would close at 6pm to encourage men to spend more time with their families. However, what it led to was men consuming as much alcohol as possible before the 6pm cut-off, thus its name “the 6 o’clock swill”. It wasn’t that long until closing time was extended.
4. Snapsvisor, Sweden
Still alive and well, snapsvisor is a Swedish drinking ritual where those involved sing songs about drinking while toasting at a gathering. With more than 2,000 traditional Swedish drinking songs, they all praise drinking and encourage community in those involved.
5. Spring Break, USA
Whether this is really a ritual can be debated, but what cannot be debated is the fact that Spring Break has become an ever-popular event among high school and university students in the US. During a week’s break in Spring, they flock to areas such as Mexico and Florida to drink and party. Of course, as the legal drinking age is 21 and many high school students and university students fall below that age, there are also some notable issues with underage drinking associated with the event.
6. Gan Bei, China
Roughly translating to “dry glass” or “empty the glass” in english, Gan Bei is a traditional drinking activity in China. In it, all members of a group toast and consume the entirety of the drink they have together. The toast is a sign of respect as is the consumption of the entire drink. Failure to finish your drink is seen as a sign of disrespect to the host and the group. If, however, you manage to consume the drink in one go, it is seen as sign of character and personal strength.
Are there any other drinking rituals from around the world that you’d like to share with us? Be sure to add them into the comments below.
* Image source: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net