Alcoholidays in America: Viva El Tequila Julep!
But how is American culture affected by the increasing popularity of the so-called alcoholidays — especially Cinco de Mayo and St. Patrick’s Day, widely celebrated by people who have no ties to the traditions they spring from? Do these galas really glue us together, or do they dilute our sense of unity?
Arin Damar, a recent college graduate who has worked as a bartender at more than one Washington, D.C., establishment, says we should celebrate the celebrations. Responsibly, of course.
National shindigs “link so many people together in the same place,” Damar says. “People bring culture with them when they immigrate, transporting celebration rituals as well as language. Gathering to commemorate a holiday like Cinco seems almost like a prideful celebration of the uniqueness of our diversity — that we can retain our roots while simultaneously being a ‘good’ American. That’s something everybody can take part in.”
And cash in on. In the tradition of the commercialization of Christmas and Thanksgiving, alcoholidays offer boundless opportunities for marketing, promotion and good old-fashioned American moneymaking.
Debauchery And Bad Behavior
Academics who study rites and rituals see a pattern. The Americanized versions of Cinco de Mayo, St. Patrick’s Day and other nationwide wingdings “have taken on common forms — food, decorative objects, music and performances, colors and clothing,” says Diane Ashton, a professor of religion studies at Rowan University in Glassboro, N.J. These national bashes “share a common upbeat meaning that emphasizes good feelings among family, friends and community groups.”
As the nation has become more diverse, there often seem to be fewer and fewer moments that we can share en masse.