New Year’s Eve and
International Toasting 2016
In light of the many hours spent enjoying my SIETAR connections and attending SIETAR conferences in 2014 and 2015, Kristen Eggers and I now have many more colleagues and friends to toast with a glass of champagne in the New Year. Of course, most of you know that in Asian countries with significant Chinese populations—like China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan—Chinese New Year is celebrated later than January 1st – and will occur on February 8th in 2016, the year of the monkey. But regardless of when, where or how you choose to celebrate or toast this traditional event, keep the following in mind:
Toasting Around the World
- Non-alcoholic toasts: Toasting is about the sentiment of the occasion and part of the New Year’s Eve festivities in some countries. Due to religious or health reasons, many guests refrain from consuming alcohol. People undergoing medical treatment, in recovery, or taking certain prescription medication cannot take even “just one sip.” It is impolite to insist that they do because they can still acceptably join in the toasting with a sparkling beverage, ginger ale, club soda, seltzer, or juice. If you do not drink and are offered an alcoholic beverage, simply say ‘no thank you.’ Remember: it is about celebrating the occasion, not the liquid in the glass.
- What is Champagne? Champagne, once traditionally served only at the coronation of French Kings is now strongly associated with New Year’s Eve festivities around the world. This sparkling wine that comes from the region of Champagne in France, located northeast of Paris, is reputed to have been invented in the 1600s by the monk Dom Perignon. He discovered that the best Champagnes were made from blends of the Champagne grapes (Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay) from different Champagne vineyards. Champagne is still-wine that has had sugar added and has been through a second fermentation and it is this that leads to its effervesce. The smaller and faster the bubbles, the finer the champagne. Scientists have determined that there are 95 million bubbles in a bottle of champagne!
- Champagne Bottle Opening: There is a proper way to open a bottle of champagne to avoid the spray, injuring someone with the cork, or spilling a drop of this precious liquid! It is best to hold the bottle at a 45 degree angle, grasp the champagne cork gently with the one hand and turn the bottom of the bottle firmly with the other hand. Be sure to twist the bottom of the bottle slowly, until you feel the cork gently release in your hand.
- Sabering Champagne: Legend has it that Napoléon’s mounted artillery officers started the trend of sabering. While riding a horse, these soldiers used a blade to cut the top off a champagne bottle with the cork still attached to it. Today for an experienced wine connoisseur to accomplish this feat precise preparation must occur. The bottle should rest upside down 60 minutes in ice, and must be very, very cold. Remove from ice, slowly turn the bottle upright, hold it at a 45 degree angle with no fluid touching the cork, touch the blade on the shoulder of the bottle, then use a follow-through movement with the blade using the elbow; not the wrist. This action was said to remove the cork quickly. However, please do not attempt to saber your champagne, as this is mostly a lost art and could result in shattered glass in your champagne!
- Toasting Etiquette: You may choose to clink, or not to clink your glass with another party-goer. The best rule is to be sure the guests are comfortable. It is best to avoid comments like “I do not clink” as this will cause discomfort. Etiquette is about others feeling comfortable in your presence.
- Observing Toast Boundaries: New Year’s Eve toasts are extremely brief, 10-15 seconds, and occur with much fanfare when the clock strikes midnight! If you don’t want to be kissed by others, it is best to stay close to your date, extend your hand for a handshake, turn your cheek for an ‘air-kiss’ or excuse yourself just before midnight.
Champagne was traditionally served at the Coronations of French kings. It has historically been associated with christenings, new beginnings, and rare moments including New Year’s Eve festivities around the world for this reason. We can thank the Ancient Greeks for introducing the art of toasting to one’s health. In Greek culture, the host took the first sip of communal wine to assure guests that it was not poisoned. Ever wondered why some people clink glasses together when toasting? In early Christian times people believed that the devil entered the body when people swallowed alcohol but would be deterred by bells chiming. So, in order to ward off the devil, guests would clink their glasses together in order to make a bell-like sound. Today, guests are encouraged to avoid clinking glasses with every guest present, which is cumbersome and distracting. Smiling and making eye contact is a gracious way to toast.
The word “toast” originated from the Roman practice of placing a piece of spiced, charred bread in the wine to mellow the flavor. When drinking to someone’s health, the cup was always drained to get to the piece of saturated toast at the bottom.
International New Year Toasts: Worldwide, many cultures toast in one form or another. ‘Happy New Year’ is one of the most common toasts made on New Year’s Eve. Globally, you may hear and speak Cheers for the New Year and Congratulations for the New Year in various languages as follows:
Spelling or Pronunciation
Afrikaans - S: Gelukkige Nuwejaar
Albanian - S: Gezuar Vitin e Ri
Azerbaijani - S: Yeni iliniz mubarek
Bahasa melayu - S: Selamat tahun baru
Basque - S: Urte berri on
Bengali - S: Shuvo Noboborsho
Bosnian - S: sretna nova godina
Catalan - S: Felic any nou
Cebuano (Philippines) S: Mabungahong Bag-ong Tuig kaninyong tanan
Chinese - P: Chu Shen Tan
Czech - S: Stastny Novy Rok
Danish - Godt Nytar
Dutch - S: Gelukkig Nieuwjaar or Fijne oudejaarsavond
Esperanto - Bonan Novjaron
Estonian - S: Head uut aastat
Filipino - S: Manigong Bagong Taon
Finnish - S: Onnellista Uutta Vuotta
French - S: Bonne annee
Gaelic (Scotland) - S: Bliadhna mhath ur
German - S: Frohes Neues Jahr/Gutes Neues Jahr
Greek - P: kali chronya
Hawaiian - S: Hauoli Makahiki hou
Hebrew - P: Shana Tova
Hungarian - S: Boldog Uj Evet/ Buek
Indonesian (Bahasa) - Selamat Tahun Baru
Irish -S: Athbhliain faoi mhaise dhuit /Bhliain nua sasta
Italian - S: Felice Anno Nuovo or Buon anno
Japanese - P: akemashite omedetou gozaimasu
Korean - P: she heh bokmahn ee bahd euh sae yo
Laotian (Hmong) -P: nyob zoo xyoo tshiab
Latin - S: Felix sit annus novus
Maltese - S: Is Sena it-Tajba
Maori - S: Kia hari te tau hou
Nigerian (Hausa) - S: Barka da sabuwar shekara
Norwegian - S: Godt Nyttar
Polish - S: Szczesliwego Nowego Roku
Portuguese - S: Feliz Ano Novo
Romanian - S: La Multi Ani
Russian - P: s novim godom
Samoan - S: la manuia le Tausaga Fou
Spanish - S: Feliz Ano Nuevo
Swahili - S: Nakutakaia Heri Ya Mwaka Mpya
Swedish - S: Gott Nyttar
Thai - P: saa-wat-dii pi-mai
Turkish - S: Yeliniz Kutlu Olsun Mutlu yillar
Vietnamese - P: Chuc mung nam moi
Urdu - P: nyya saal mubarak
Welsh - S: Blwyddyn newydd dda
In what language do you communicate “Happy New Year”? We wish you all the best in 2016 and hope to see you at future SIETAR conferences and events.
—Sharon Schweitzer, Intercultural Consultant, and Kristen Eggers, Research Specialist, www.sharonschweitzer.com
Welcome New Board Members!
Holly Emert, President Elect
Expanding SIETAR-USA’s reach within and beyond the intercultural relations field will be a key focus. For example, SIETAR-USA’s primary activity is its annual conference. The conference is a place of dynamic professional development where current and prospective members alike come together to engage in topics of relevance to the field. As President-Elect, then President, I will utilize my experience as a member of SIETAR-USA, Board member, and conference co-chair to work with the Board to build upon past success to expand our reach to professionals in related fields, gain new sponsors, and expand the scope of our session topics.
In addition to the conference, I will work to grow the organization in a way that provides more value to our members and the field as a whole. Providing more offerings outside of the conference is one way to do this, while also collaborating with colleagues in sister SIETARs around the world so that we are even more collaborative in terms of offerings and cross-pollination of member interests and expertise.
Above all, I look forward to learning directly from members (and prospective members) about their wants and needs regarding SIETAR-USA so that I can play a direct roll in fostering increased presence and utility of SIETAR-USA throughout the spheres that we operate within.
Amy Lewis, Director of Professional Development
I will share my passion for teaching and mentorship with members by continuing well-received existing programs and introducing new learning opportunities. I will still ensure that sessions offered at the annual conference are peer-reviewed and relevant to the assorted interests of the audience. Beyond the annual conference, I will focus on new ways to engage members and to maintain a professional learning community. New possibilities include an applied research journal, ongoing webinars and online courses, practical how-to (e.g., write conference proposals, apply for grants, get published) guides, and a-day-in-the-life mentorship program. Increasing professional development opportunities enhances membership benefits and fosters collective learning through SIETAR-USA.