A call to a group of people to raise their glasses in honour of a person, thing, or event is called a brindisi (masculine, plural: brindisi) in Italian – or a toast in English.
Although the word is Italian, it derives from an old German phrase that was used to introduce a toast: (ich) bringe dir’s (zu) meaning (I) offer it to you.
It is common to fare un brindisi (make a toast) at Christmas during dinner or just before or after the clock strikes midnight to ring in the New Year.
Abbiamo fatto un brindisi al nuovo anno aprendo una bottiglia di Prosecco!
We made a toast to the new year by opening a bottle of Prosecco!
Note: an alternative to fare un brindisi is the verb brindare. They mean exactly the same thing.
A couple of expressions you are bound to hear Italians using during a brindisi are:
- Cin cin! = Cheers! (Reminiscent of the sound glasses make when they clink together.)
- Alla vostra salute! = Here’s to your good health! (You can say Alla vostra! and Salute! on their own to mean the same thing.)
Cin cin, ragazzi, alla vostra! Auguri per un felice 2020!
Cheers, guys, here’s to your good health! Best wishes for a happy 2020!
In some contexts, brindisi can also refer to a round of drinks or an outing that revolves around drinking.
The term brindisi is often used in opera. In an operatic brindisi, it is typical for one character to introduce a toast with a solo melody while the full ensemble later joins in the refrain. Perhaps one of the most well-known “drinking songs” labelled brindisi in opera is Verdi’s Libiamo ne’ lieti calici which you can hear below.
Did you know that…? Brindisi is also the name of an Italian city in the Puglia region on the coast of the Adriatic sea.