When toasting or cheering another member of the Company, members are accustomed to give ‘Regimental Fire’. This takes the form of a ninefold shout of the word ‘zay’ accompanied by sideways movements of the right hand culminating in an upward movement on the last and loudest shout. The origin is unknown, but it is thought that it may stem from the movements required to ignite a grenade or from eighteenth-century toast-drinking. Another interpretation is that, in times gone by, three cheers (or ‘zays’) were given for good chaps. If anyone was a particularly good chap, which all members of the HAC undoubtedly are, they were given three times three cheers; hence nine ‘zays’.
If the person being toasted is not a member of the Company ‘Silent Fire’ is used; here the first eight ‘zays’ are silent, with a shout only on the ninth.