Unfortunately I could not make this conference, but the paper which looked of most relevance to me was Sarah Morrow of Boston’s paper on “Shamrocks, Sombreros, and the Stars and Stripes: Ritual Drinking on Nationalistic Holidays and the Creation of Cultural Identity”
Her abstract said: This thesis examines ritual drinking practices on the nationalistic holidays St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, and American Independence Day. The objective of this study was to discover who celebrates these holidays, how they celebrate, and why they celebrate. It also sought to understand how alcohol is used as a tool and how extreme drinking is encouraged by participants as a mode of community formation. Employing anthropological methods, I conducted participant observations on all three holidays in Boston, Massachusetts. Through these observations, it became clear that young adults celebrated these nationalistic holidays through ritualistic practices that included stylized modes of dress, the collection and use of material artifacts, the liminal experience of secular pilgrimage, and ritualized actions that facilitated processes of assimilation and acculturation.
Punch has come to be closely related with several national days with certain recipes being closely identified with national traditions such as Swedish punsch, Mexican Ponche Navideño, and Feuerzangenbowle (flaming punch) from Germany served at New Year.