Polish Drinking Game: Nostrovia

My best friend from home went on a backpacking trip throughout Poland, and came back with an interesting drinking game. It is called Nostrovia.

When he was visiting for a concert that we went to together in February (Dash Berlin, famous dj played at the Hollywood Palladium),  of course we decided to go get drunk the first night he was in LA.

I thought I would be a good host, and show him some typical fraternity drinking games (beer pong, flip cup, quarters, etc.). When I began explaining the elaborate rules to him, he stared at me and laughed.

Bart explained that the previous summer, he had backpacked around Poland for a month with a program through his school (Washington University in St. Louis).  While Poland, which is in fact his family’s country of origin, he learned a much simpler drinking game called “Nostrovia”.

(While completing this folklore collection, I had to look up how exactly to spell this term, as I had only heard it spoken before.) Bart pronounced it more closely to “Nos Drove-ia”.

Bart went on to explain that “Nostrovia” is a very simple game. Essentially, when two friends get together to drink, periodically throughout the night, one will shout “Nostrovia”, followed by his friend’s response of “Nostrovia”.

This incredibly simple drinking “game” is what he played every time he drank during that month in Poland. When I called him to ask him to sign the release form, he mentioned that it is also customary for others in the vicinity to reply with “Nostrovia” after the two friends have both shouted it.

I think that this drinking game reflects the nature of Polish drinking. It is much more casual that here in the United States. They do not need elaborate games to get drunk, and in fact prefer to simply make conversation. This is a cultural difference between Poland and The United States that naturally goes unstudied due to the fact that it pertains to getting drunk. However, it is still an interesting difference in tradition.