Tag Archives: drinking

Marching Band Shot Taking

Tweeeeeeeet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, down, don’t die preformed

“Tweeee^eet tweet tweet tweet tweet down, don’t die”

I’m in band, I am a college student of legal age, who occasionally recreationally takes alcohol, in a safe, consensual manner (laughter) [consensual between you and the alcohol?] Yes. (laughter) [So where will you use this?] Often times I’ll use this right before parties. [So you’d use it at parties, do you think you would use it (this method of taking shots) at a non-band party?] Probably not because I think I’d look like a weirdo. [Who taught you this? Who did you originally learn it from?] The people who were in band before me, so like when I was a freshman they were seniors and it just gets passed down. [Would that be your section or just general band? (both the taking of the shot and the teaching of the shot] General band, but I learned it from my section. [Why do people in the band say this?] We say this before we run down on the field, we say “tweeeeet, tweet, tweet, tweet, tweet, down, don’t die” and then we would start going “aaaaaaa” and then running on the field, and then because another huge part of the band other than marching band and music is alcohol (laughs) we will also do that before we drink. [So what does the tweet stand for? How does that become a thing?} the tweet mimics the sounds of the whistle that Jake uses to cue us off (to go running onto the field).

-Interview with the Informant

The USC Marching Band became as well known and impressive as it is today thanks to its previous director, Arthur Bartner. His tenure at USC is marked by the current band for having an incredibly football team, manly mentality as well as a band that was rowdy and alcoholic. The identity of the band has shifted since Dr. Jacob Vogel, the current director, took the reigns, however the importance of alcohol for band members has not been completely erased. Band members spend much of their time together, especially during the fall football season and as a result they have created a folk group that transcends just being a marching band and is also a social group outside of band itself. They have band exclusive parties, drinking traditions, particular mixed drinks made special by each different section, all of these different social aspects that are considered a part of band despite not being practice or music related. Using the folklore of their band activities, such as being tweeted off before running onto the field, they extend the group’s activities to drinking, partying, and socializing outside of just the marching band practice and game hours.

Drunk as a Skunk


“Drunk as a skunk”


My father, M, grew up in Vancouver, BC, Canada, where he was first introduced to this phrase at a young age. The phrase refers to someone showing visible signs of heavy alcohol consumption and would be used when gossiping with others or seeing someone heavily inebriated. He laughed a little when telling me the saying, questioning what skunks have to do with being drunk, but stated that everyone in his community knew and would use it. He currently lives in Seattle, Washington, where I grew up; I don’t remember hearing him use the phrase in conversation during my childhood.


The actual comparison within this phrase seems to be more a matter of humorous rhyme than truth – like M, I am not aware of skunks having anything to do with drunkenness. Nonetheless, this saying seems to be a lighthearted way of discussing someone’s socially questionable behavior and reveals the cultural attitudes towards drinking in my father’s childhood community. The saying’s use in gossip and in pointing out the drunk person to others gives the phrase a somewhat negative, albeit teasing, connotation. That usage, combined with M’s explanation that it refers to someone “really drunk,” indicates that someone who is “drunk as a skunk” has surpassed a socially acceptable level of drunkenness. However, the humor in the saying’s rhyme indicated by my father’s explanation leads me to believe that the offense is not necessarily considered serious or deserving of punishment – or perhaps the subsequent gossip is seen as consequence enough.

Ooh Ah Up the Rah

Background: “Celtic Symphony” is a song performed by the Irish band, The Wolfe Tones. The song is sung at gatherings of Irish people. The line “Oh Ah up the Ra” is emphasized and belted out. The phrase is a declaration of support for the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Context: I witnessed my Irish friend’s family perform this song while at his house for Thanksgiving last fall. While singing songs after dinner, this song came on and all of his Irish family members sang it together, most of them quite drunk. My friend explained that it was one of the songs Irish people always sing together. “Oh Ah up the Ra” is basically a “big ‘eff you’ to the British,” he told me.

Main Piece:

Here we go again,
We’re on the road again,
We’re on the road again,
We’re on our way to Paradise,
We love the jungilty,
That’s where the lion sleeps, (yeeeaaaaahhhh)
For in those evil eyes,
They have no place in Paradise.

graffiti on the walls just as the sun was going down,
I seen graffitti on the walls( Of the CELTS, Of the CELTS),
Graffitti on the walls that says we’re Magic, We’re Magic,
Graffiti on the walls…….Graffiti on the walls……..
And it said…………..
Ooh ah up the Ra, say ooh ah up the Ra (x6).


I felt quite a lot of jealousy while watching and certainly hearing my friend’s family sing this song together. Even the youngest of my friend’s cousins, at ages seven and eight, were singing at the top of their lungs as everyone paraded around the room. It is clearly a song sung with immense patriotism and pride. However, the reference to the IRA must infuse the song with a certain vigor, as nearly all of my friend’s family was still in Ireland during the British occupation and have lost friends and loved ones in the conflict. There is a juxtaposition between the hearty and jubilant performance of this song and the horrors and pain upon which the song is founded. While many nations sing songs in unison out of love for country and shared experience, it seems that the Irish certainly have the most fun doing it and doing it the loudest.

German Easter Fire Tradition


AH grew up in Westergellersen, a small village in northern Germany and attended these Easter fires throughout her childhood.

Main Piece:

“Leute in vor allem ländlichen Gegenden sammeln Holzmaterial und Buschwerk und türmen es möglichst hoch auf. Es soll weithin sichtbar sein. Es entsteht ein Wettstreit um das höchste Feuer. Am Karsamstag wird es angezündet. Das Dorf versammelt sich dann um das Feuer, es gibt Bier, Glühwein und Würstchen.”


People from all the surrounding rural areas gather wooden material and shrubbery and pile it as high as possible. It should be able to be seen from far and wide. There is a contest for the highest fire. On Karsamstag (Holy Saturday, the day before Easter) it is lit. The village gathers around the fire, there’s beer, mulled wine, and sausages.


This part of the Easter festival celebration in northern Germany seems very useful for promoting unity and connection within a town. Because the villages compete for the tallest fire, the one that can be seen from the farthest distance away, this creates an in-group out-group boundary. Also, since gathering the materials for the highest bonfire takes time and work, the townspeople must work together, as they wouldn’t be able to achieve this highest fire on their own. Then, on the evening before Easter, when the fire is lit, this festival ritual turns into a communal gathering place for the village people. Beer, mulled wine, and sausages are all extremely common foods in northern Germany, and are generally associated with any festivals and gatherings, or seen as something like ‘fair food.’

Tombs Night at Georgetown

Background information: OLP is a 21-year-old student at Georgetown University in DC. They were raised in the Bay Area, but currently live in DC for school. They have lived there for the past couple years, but only recently physically went back to Georgetown for classes. Because of this, they have had a good amount of exposure to Georgetown culture.

OLP: Georgetown students have a tradition of having this thing called a “Tombs Night” when they turn 21, it’s like, where you have a party and then go to this bar called the Tombs. And I had mine this year!

Me: Oh, I remember! How was it? 

OLP: It was fun (laughs). It definitely felt like something that was really, um, hyped up, so it was exciting.

Me: How did you learn about Tombs Night? 

OLP: I know this because I was invited to upperclassmen’s tombs nights like last year (laughs). I don’t think I know where or when it originated, but I think it’s been said that it’s because the Tombs is notoriously difficult to get into with a fake, so no one even tries until they’re 21. So yeah, even though I was invited, I didn’t ever actually go to the bar until this year. It’s like a big way to celebrate being 21, so the person’s friends will host a party for them and invite as many people as possible. And for some reason they stamp your forehead at the door when it’s your birthday. So it’s a whole thing, so I assume it must be kind of old. 

Me: Do you know how it got to be such a big thing? 

OLP: No, I feel like people just want a reason to party on their 21st though, right. Oh and also, it’s usually a way for people to go socialize during the winter when club events are kind of dead. At least I feel like it is. 

This piece of folklore was very intriguing because of how specific it is to students at Georgetown. Through word of mouth, despite the fact that students do not seem to know the origin of the tradition, everyone knows that it can act as sort of a rite of passage for Georgetown students turning 21. “Tombs Night” being a tradition shows how folklore practices can provide an opportunity for celebration and socializing.