How about a pop-up ritual?

Many drinking rituals from across the world, whether it is in indigenous cultures, or the urban cultures, are both peculiar and often interesting.  Whether it is the soju drinking Hoesik tradition from Korea with its do’s and don’ts around the elders/older members/boss in the gathering; or the European tradition of toasting by maintaining eye contact so one doesn’t have to go through seven years of bad sex; to the incredibly interesting German wedding ritual, where close friends ‘kidnap’ the bride and take her to a bar, and the groom has to track down the bar to retrieve his bride, and pay whatever the tab that the groomsmen have built waiting for him; or Spain’s Haro wine festival where begins the battle of wine; each of these cultural rituals expand the beauty of what it means to be a part of a gathering; event; ceremony; or a night hangout with friends or loved ones.

The Merry Family, Jan Havicksz. Steen, 1668, Rijks Museum

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Much of this kind of in-person gatherings are currently challenged, and may take a while to return to their previous forms. But then, the beauty of rituals, is also about giving birth to new ones, adapting the old ones in new ways, peppering them with what we enjoy individually, allowing both culture and rituals to evolve. After all, evolving is core to sustaining rituals, as well as cultures.

Right now, intimate gatherings at home, or having  a drink with your loved one, seems to be what is possible. But then, how can we continue the fun, lightness and uniqueness that surrounds having a drink, by creating some peculiar or innovative pop-up rituals? If this is the relay race of humanity, and in receiving the baton in the current situation, we had to find new ways to adapt – like meetings on zoom, schools online, etc, how can we give birth to new drinking rituals whether it is an intimate gathering at home, or an online hangout with family/friends? What is the quirkiest ones we can come up with?
It doesn’t have to be grand, doesn’t have to be complicated, but instead of just meeting and drinking, how about creating a new pop-up ritual? Ask something of your guests, let the guests ask something of you, let there be a pop-up ritual, from entry to exit, give it a name, and in doing so, let’s keep the spirit alive, till the world comes around, and who knows which one of these pop-up rituals will become a part of our culture? Never knowing, what catches on to stay on for a long time to come!
If this is churning up the creative juices, connecting the several synapses in your brain, for some upcoming gathering you have planned, or for the yet another long weekend ahead, or to forget this pandemic financial year’s balance sheet, well, then, let us figure out new ways to toast! BTW, it could be a ritual you create just for yourself too.

Sharing some ideas: 
A pop-up theme with the rule embedded into it, can be:
  • You are the host & guest: Every single person gathered, makes a drink for someone, and waits for someone else to make a drink for him/her. So the whole thing is interactive, engaging, and there is no host/guest. Through the evening, everyone is responsible for taking care of everyone. 
  • Pairing with music: If you wish to have a solitude experience, then pick your drinks, pair them with music, and see how each influences the other. If this is in a group, then you can share the drink you plan to serve, and the guests/friends can bring a piece of music, they feel pairs well with the drink. 

But hey, you can get quirkier, and customize it even more.


Anjan and I shall also try out a couple of pop-up rituals, now that we are energized by sharing this idea with you.


Do let us know what you tried, and if we collect enough over this month, we will share it with everyone.


Let’s get scripting, right away…


If you have tried any pop-up rituals, do share them with me on