My informant invited me to join in a tradition. The following is transcript of our interview:
“ Informant: I just bought a new car right? So to commemorate the day, we do this thing called “ubmyit” which literally translates “to wash” but basically entails us taking a shot of vodka to commemorate the day. Now before you think my family are alcoholics, most Russian families do this whenever something of significance happens which is positive. When I graduate from SC we will likely do the same, as we did after high school.
My informant liked celebrating this way, following the tradition he learned from his parents. His parents, from Ukraine, claimed that it was common for families in eastern Europe. My informant loved it: “It’s not forced or anything but it is a fun tradition indeed. It’s like you drink to the good fortune you have had in your life type of shit”
As a tradition, this is a means of gathering people and having a good time, no matter how small the reason. This acts as a signifier for events in life, a way to codify and commemorate positive experiences.