Drinking binge

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Nocturnal drinking binge ( William Hogarth , 1731)

A drinking binge , carousing binge or binge is a gathering of several people, which primarily serves the extensive consumption of alcohol . In German-speaking rampant carousing of adolescents and young adults are colloquially often called for some time Binge drinking refers, in the English language is called binge drinking . The ancient drinking bouts were called symposiums . The term 'feast' can also be applied synonymously to other physical pleasures such as food (feasting).



For the Greeks , the drinking binge ( συμπόσιον , symposion ) began after the end of the feast or banquet, when dessert had been served and a libation had been made to the “good spirit”. Only men were allowed to participate.

Guests who did not want to take part in the drinking binge were entitled to move away when serving the dessert. Only wine mixed with cold or warm water was drunk; the cold drink was sometimes cooled with snow.

The mixture itself took place in the mixing vessel ( κράτηρ , " crater "), usually in the ratio of three parts water to one part wine . From the crater, the drink with the creator ( Οἰνοχόη , oinochoe , lit. "wine pourer") was poured into the cups.

Red, white, and yellow wines were drank and mixed together; spices and honey were also added. Also, fruit wines were drunk.

A head elected by the company or determined by lot (common designations were: συμποσιάρχος , symposiarchos , “chairman of the revelation”; βασιλεύς , basileus , “king”; ἄρχων τῆς πόσεως , archon tes , chairman of the pose Drinking "). This set the mixing ratio: up to ten parts of water per part of wine has been handed down, but the proportion of wine was usually higher. He also determined the number of cups to be drunk from each cup, the rules according to which it was drunk, and laid down penalties for violations of these rules, which usually consisted of emptying a cup in one go.

At some feasts, the declared aim was to get the participants drunk ( πίνειν πρὸς βίον , pinein pros bion , "drink to life"). Drinking to those present one after the other around the table ( ἐπὶ δεξιά , epi dexia , "right around ") and from person to person was custom.

At these feasts, witty, amusing entertainment also played an important role. Often occurred courtesans , which sang and danced and the double wind instrument aulos and the lyre kithara played; youthful slaves and jugglers showed facial expressions and tricks. Sometimes people also enjoyed themselves at the Kottabos ( κοτταβος ), one of the Greeks mainly in the 5th and 4th centuries BC. Above all, a game of skill played at drinking parties .

Those who tolerated the most in the competition received a cake, those who fell asleep were mocked and poured wine over them.


In ancient Rome , the holding of special drinking feasts, which also followed the main meal in the evening, only became customary after the Romans had adopted Greek customs. Here, too, drinking was practiced systematically, and the Greek model was followed rather strictly. With the Romans women were sometimes allowed to the feasts.

The ad numerum bibere represented a special custom , whereby as many cups were emptied as the name of the letter to be celebrated contained or how many years of life one wished for him. Drinking in groups ( circumpotatio ) degenerated so much, especially with the corpse foes, that this custom was forbidden by special decemviri laws.

During the feast numerous libations were given to the gods . Savory delicacies were served to quench thirst.

Germanic peoples

Information about drinking bouts has also come down to us from the Teutons. These also found their way into religious ideas: According to their beliefs, bliss in Valhalla consisted primarily of participating in eternal feasts of the gods, at which the heroes drank mead ; only Odin was reserved for wine . There was never a shortage of drinks in the Walhalla, because the inexhaustible goat Heidrun always refilled the bowl with foaming mead. On earth drinking festivals were held in honor of the pagan gods , the gods themselves were offered copious libations, initially with mead, later with wine.

Whenever the priest made sacrifices, he poured out a horn at the feet of the idol , filled it again and drank to him. In the temples the cups were emptied in the following order: the first in honor of Odin , the second in honor of Thor and Freya , the third in memory of famous heroes (Bragakelch) and the fourth in memory of dead friends ( Minnebecher ).

See also : Sumbel

Middle Ages and early modern times

Drinking parties were also common in the Middle Ages . “Singers sang songs and played the harp; around listeners sat with iron mugs and drank like mad healthy beings. Whoever did not participate was taken for a fool. You have to consider yourself lucky to be still alive after drinking like this. ”This is how the Roman writer Venantius Fortunatus relates . The prescribed courtesies were offered in full mugs: welcome, valet drink, honor drink, round drink, customer drink and friendship drink. This was followed by adding and pre-drinking according to very specific rules and drinking contests. Drinking was regulated by the princes through drinking regulations.

The chronicles of the 15th and 16th centuries report on the drinking festivals at the courts, which were celebrated with great lavishness and splendor; the wine was drunk in large quantities, so that at the end all those present were completely drunk. The carousing parties at the court of Augustus the Strong were particularly famous , where the Saxon cavaliers had the task of drinking under the table for their Polish peers. The student carousing parties formed a special form; The University of Tübingen in particular was famous for it in the Middle Ages.

Johann Michael Moscherosch describes a student feast at that time in his miraculous and true stories of Philander von Sittewalt . In his poem Who First Invented Beer, Hans Sachs gives a drastic description of a binge drinking.

Even in the early modern period, drinking bouts were widespread among all strata of the population at that time: In the knight's hall of the Riegersburg in Styria , an inscription can be found that was carved into a glass window: “In 1635, April 6th, drinking began and Every day an intoxication bit on the 26th ”.

Only with the increased adoption of courtly customs from France and the increasing consumption of coffee and tea towards the end of the 17th century were drinking bouts no longer the preferred form of socializing among the upper class.


"Two Drunk" by Nicolae Grigorescu

In the present day, traditional drinking bouts, i. H. Ceremonial gatherings where ritualized drinking is the main occasion and sole purpose are held less often. Especially student associations are often assumed that such events are still common there (see pub (student association) ). However, private and commercial parties and events often include drinking bouts. One phenomenon in this context is the colloquial so-called Ballermann culture . In Great Britain, the phenomenon of binge drinking is part of the lad culture as well as stag and hen parties .

Flat rate parties

Flatrate party or all-you-can-drink party are terms for commercial events at which alcoholic beverages are served at a flat rate without any limit on the quantity. The entry price to the actual party is often included and the selection of drinks is limited to a certain period and to certain types of drinks. As a rule, beer and a selection of high-proof drinks are offered in addition to non-alcoholic drinks. Criticism is that with such events, the Binge drinking is encouraged ( "binge drinking" / "binge drinking"), especially among young people.

Current studies show that younger and younger adolescents consume more and more alcohol (see alcohol abuse among adolescents ). An increase in alcohol intoxication among young people is also attributed to the increase in flat rate parties. The German Central Office for Addiction Issues warns against such events, as the low price lowers the inhibition threshold to get drunk.

The tendency of some adolescents to be violent has also been linked to increased alcohol consumption. German politicians are also increasingly calling for flat-rate parties to be banned or for alcohol to be limited. Some big cities are pushing the catering industry to stop these practices; In May 2007, for example, the city of Freiburg asked night gastronomy to sign a voluntary commitment in this regard, otherwise there is a risk of shortening operating times. This orientation towards coercive measures is criticized by social educators and a preventive educational work is demanded.

The interior ministers of the federal states in Germany are considering issuing a legal ban on flat-rate offers in restaurants. On June 8, 2007, Baden-Württemberg became the first federal state to ban flat-rate parties . The Baden-Württemberg Interior Minister Ernst Pfister (FDP) argued that the legal basis for this already existed with the Youth Protection Act and the Restaurant Act . The Restaurant Act prohibits the distribution of alcoholic beverages to drunk people ( Section 20 GastG). Flat-rate parties are a targeted attempt to circumvent this law, in that customers first pay the purchase price and then receive the service paid for; therefore they are illegal. In Baden-Wuerttemberg, hosts who organize such parties must now expect fines up to and including the withdrawal of their restaurant permit. Another handle is provided by § 4 GastG: It makes it possible to refuse the liquor license if the applicant encourages alcohol abuse. A discotheque in Nuremberg has already been temporarily closed because the owner has not kept to this contract. The closure was upheld by a court.

Increase in binge drinking among adolescents

The number of German adolescents who had to be hospitalized for acute alcohol abuse rose by 178% from 2000 to 2011 to 26,400. A similar development could also be observed in Austria. The reasons for this development include the marketing of the manufacturers of high-proof alcoholic beverages to a younger target audience and the widespread impression among young people that drinking is a cultural norm, as well as the increased popularity of alcopops , which in Germany led to the introduction of a special tax on alcopops resulted in. After the introduction of this special tax, alcopops sales quickly fell significantly. Since a proportional decline in sales was also found in Austria, where no special tax was introduced, it is questionable whether the cause of the decline in Germany can be justified with the special tax. According to a study by the Institute for Social Research (ISR) at the University of Michigan , alcopops have also lost a lot of their importance and popularity in the USA since 2004, even there without the introduction of a special tax. It was shown that heavy alcohol consumption by American adolescents had declined significantly over the past 25 years and is currently at a historical minimum. Only public perception suggests an increase.

Whether the problematic alcohol consumption of adolescents (sometimes to the point of unconsciousness , drinking coma ) has really increased as dramatically in the German-speaking area in recent years as the inpatient admission numbers suggest for acute alcohol abuse, or whether these numbers simply reflect completely different developments, There are different opinions about this in the professional world. For example, a study by the European Megapoles project came to the conclusion that there was indeed an increase in dangerous alcohol consumption among young people, while other authors strongly doubt this. Both publications largely agree that the total amount of alcohol consumed by young people in German-speaking countries is declining.

A sociobiological and sociological approach to explaining the increase in adolescent alcohol consumption brings three factors together:

  • the anthropological constant of the consumption of toxic substances as a handicap signal , which is intended to document one's own performance in relation to potential mating partners, cooperation partners and competitors;
  • the increase in the intensity of competition in the societies of industrialized countries in the era of globalization , which increases the tendency towards handicap signals;
  • the decrease in some behavioral controls, which can be explained by civilization theory, from the First World War and especially since the 1960s.

See also: binge drinking

Web links

Wiktionary: Drinking party  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Gelage  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Poemata I praef. See generally Hasso Spode : Alcohol and Civilization, Berlin 1991, Part I, here p. 25
  2. Rosenbaum and four-poster bed Die Zeit , 17/1991
  3. Press release from the State of Berlin
  4. Alcohol Action Plan of the DHS 2008 names on page 6 section 'Measures to reduce the availability of alcohol' and names the 'enforcement of the Catering Act' a measure of central importance ( Memento of the original from November 12, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was used automatically and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.dhs.de
  5. ^ Badische Zeitung, May 12, 2007, pp. 25, 28
  6. ftd: Interior ministers fight killer games, drinking parties and toy weapons ( Memento from June 3, 2007 in the Internet Archive )
  7. ^ Badische Zeitung, June 9, 2007, p. 1.
  8. ^ Article in the Nürnberger Nachrichten about the closure of a disco because of cheap alcohol
  9. Drugs and Addiction Report May 2011 ( Memento of the original from November 25, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 1.6 MB) published by the drug commissioner of the federal government. P. 21f. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / drogenbeauftragte.de
  10. Uhl A. et al. (2009): [1] (PDF; 7.7 MB): Federal Ministry of Health, Vienna (page 172, increase in alcohol-related hospital admissions of children and adolescents)
  11. Uhl A. et al. (2009): [2] (PDF; 7.7 MB): Federal Ministry of Health, Vienna (page 257, trend in consumption of alcopops, shandy and other alcoholic mixed drinks)
  12. ^ Marijuana use is rising; ecstasy use is beginning to rise; and alcohol use is declining among US teens ( Memento of the original from June 15, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. Summary of the current drug study in the USA. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / ns.umich.edu
  13. ^ Megapoles: Young People and Alcohol . Final report (English) of the European project to research the drinking behavior of European adolescents 2003.
  14. Uhl and Kobrna (2012): Binge drinking among young people - media hype or alarming development?  ( Page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. (PDF; 454 kB) Addiction therapy 2012; 13 (01): 15-24.@1@ 2Template: Dead Link / www.thieme-connect.de