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The Legend of the German Nuernberg Bridal Cup
C
ourtesy of Home of the Nuernberg Bridal Cups

Toasting is the strongest and most formal in Germany, Scandinavia and Eastern European countries.

In France, Italy and Spain the toast is even given German names.  In Spain and Italy, “to toast” is called “brindar” and came from the German meaning “ich bring dir’s” which means “I bring it to you”.  In France they say “trinquer” which is from the German word “trinken” (to drink).  And just incase you are wondering where the English phrase “toast” came from, it came from Britain.  It used to be an ancient custom from the Eucharistic religious events to pass a bowl or “loving cup” (a cup you share) around which had a piece of sweetened toast floating on top. The host was always the last one to drink from the cup and also required to eat the toast.  This was done in honor of the guests. 

A loving cup is a cup that is shared, and that is exactly what a Bridal Cup is.  Bridal Cups started in Nuernberg, Germany and was a handcrafted pewter vessel in the shape of a woman with drinking cups on both ends.  Both the bride and groom were able to toast their wedding and drink at the same time from the same cup.  In order to bring many years of good luck to their marriage they had to drink from this cup without spilling a single drop.  Every year thereafter, on their anniversary, they continue to toast with this special cup. 

The tradition started centuries ago in Nuernberg during the days when marriages were pre-arranged.  The historical cup was brought to life from an angry wealthy nobleman’s challenge to a young goldsmith.  If he could create such an item, he would allow the goldsmith to marry his daughter.  To this day, the cup is still used for weddings and anniversary toasts and becoming more and more popular in the United States.  The story is interesting and heartwarming.  It most definitely adds a unique romantic touch to any wedding toast.

The story goes as follows:

Centuries ago, in old Nuernberg, the nobel mistress Kunigunde fell in love with a young and ambitious goldsmith. Although Kunigunde's wealthy father (a powerful nobleman) did not approve of this pair, it was clear that she only wanted the goldsmith to be her husband as she refused many titled and rich suitors who asked for her hand in marriage.

Her father became so enraged that he had the young goldsmith thrown into the darkest dungeon. Not even his daughter's bitter tears would change her father's mind.

To her father's dismay, imprisoning the young man did not end his daughter’s love for the goldsmith. Instead, he could only watch as his daughter grew paler and paler as a result of the separation from her true love.

The wealthy nobleman reluctantly made the following proposal: He told his daughter, "If your goldsmith can make a chalice from which two people can drink at the same time without spilling one single drop, I will free him and you shall become his bride".

Of course he was certain nobody could perform such a task...

Inspired by love and with skillful hands, the young goldsmith created a masterpiece. He sculpted a girl with a smile as beautiful as his own true love's. Her skirt was hollowed to serve as a cup. Her raised arms held a bucket that swivels so that it could be filled and then swung towards a second drinker.

The challenge was met. The goldsmith and the nobleman's daughter joined hands in marriage and with the bridal cup set forth a romantic and memorable tradition as charming today as it was originally hundreds of years ago.

To this day and to many couples the chalice remains a symbol.

Love, faithfulness and good luck await the couple who drink from this cup. 

 

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