Why do we cheers with champagne on New Year’s Eve?
Have you ever wondered why we drink champagne on New Year’s Eve? Why not wine? Why not whiskey? Well, like most things in life -- the answer lies in the money trail.
Champagne on New Year’s Eve
The lavishness of champagne dates back to the 16th century. European aristocrats were popping the bubbly bottles at their royal parties, making the drink an “elite” item to have and to drink.
It was even the drink of choice for Louis XIV. It was truly a status symbol.
Kolleen M. Guy, associate professor of history at the University of Texas at San Antonio and author of “When Champagne Became French," says it eventually moved from religious celebration to a secular one.
“After the French Revolution, it became a part of the secular rituals that replaced formerly religious rituals,” Guy told Life’s Little Mysteries. “You could ‘christen a ship’ without a priest, for example, by using the ‘holy water’ of champagne.” The drink came to be opened at weddings, baptisms and other religious events, she said.
As production was streamlined, the price of champagne declined -- and producers started marketing it to the middle class. It wasn’t cheap -- but it was affordable for special occasions. Champagne’s production skyrocketed from 300,000 to 20 million bottles per year between 1800 and 1850.
By the 19th century, the bubbly became a global tradition associated with joyous occasions.
“In a secular society, we want to mark both the joy and sanctity of the occasion,” Guy said. “Champagne does this symbolically, but also visually, since it overflows in abundance and joy.”
Cheers to that. Be safe out there!