Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Na Zdrowie

Na zdrowie
Growing up in a family of Polish heritage provided me and my cousins with a handful of Polish words and phrases.  I cannot say "I would like some milk for my cereal", but I can say "I need to use the outhouse". (My grandma, or "Babcia" was from the old country). My cousin Bev recently wished me Na zdrowie for my birthday. Meaning “for health” or “to your health, it is the Polish toast. Pronounced,  nahz drove yay, it also doubles as “bless you” after a sneeze. Both customs, raising glasses with kind words and blessing after sneezes have ancient origins and no concrete evidence seems to exist how they came about. Do you sneeze your soul out? Does a sneeze mean you might be catching the plague? Does your heart stop momentarily when you sneeze?  Is your wine so bad you put stale bread in it, (toast), to “soak up the bad flavors”? Do you clink glasses to splash liquid with your host to safeguard against being poisoned or is it to make noise to ward off the ever present evil spirits? Ah, maybe it dates back to when folks did not have individual cups and the drinking vessel was shared. Left floating in a bowl, the community cup was “raised” to others when a drink was taken.
I find it curious that, in many languages, the same word or phrase applies. “Did someone sneeze? No but I’d like a drink”.

I know…no travel news. It is a rainy day in Santa Fe. Hey, maybe that will be the start of a poem.

1 comment:

  1. Anyway, at the end of the battle, Viking warriors would decapitate the king or leader of the tribe/army they had just vanquished and that night would drink from his skull--spelled skoll--as a sign of respect for the fallen opponent. It was only then, Viking warriors believed, could an opponent who had fought valiantly be allowed into Valhalla.