Title: Patriots Beer Burial
General Information about Item:
- Type of Folklore: Customary Folklore – Tradition
- Language: English
- Country of Origin: United States
- Informant: ET
- Date Collected: 5/7/20
- ET is a Dartmouth student in the class of 2022. He was born and raised in Framingham, Massachusetts. He has been an avid Boston and New England sports fan his entire life, whether that is the Red Sox, Bruins, or Patriots. During his time at Dartmouth, ET enjoys skiing competitively as part of the Club Ski Team. His plans after Dartmouth include becoming a foreign policy analyst.
- Cultural Context: The New England Patriots are both one of the most hated and most beloved teams in all of American sports. Their fans are also regarded as being rowdy, and are considered to be obnoxious by some fans of rival teams. Much of this disdain stems from the fact that the Patriots are also one of the most successful football teams in recent memory. The Patriots’ home field is Gillette Stadium, outside of which many fans choose to tailgate before home games.
- Social Context: Tailgating is the practice of many fans gathering before a game that is going to be played at their home stadium. Tailgating consists of driving to the parking lot of said stadium, and then often drinking copious amounts of alcohol in the hours leading up to the start of the sporting event.
- ET’s family has a long-standing tradition that has been occurring during the Patriots’ season for as long as he can remember. The extended family of ET all meet to tailgate at the exact same location outside of the McDonald’s restaurant nearest to Gillette Stadium each game of the Patriot’s season. Friends of the family can also be present, and before the first game of the season, the group digs a hole near the McDonald’s parking lot and buries several cans of beer in this same location. Then, they leave the beers buried for the entire 17-week regular season, and then before the Patriots’ first playoff game of the season, the group uncovers and drinks the beers they have been storing in that hole.
- “[My family and I] have [a tradition] for the Patriots. We tailgate at the exact same spot in the McDonald’s parking lot every single home game. So, the first game of the season, we dig a hole in the ground and bury a bunch of beers in there, and then at the first playoff game we dig them up and drink them. This will be right when we get there, about two or three hours before the game starts. It is us and some family friends who share season tickets.”
- They have been doing this tradition since before ET was born. He thinks that it brings the Patriots good luck for the season.
- The beers usually freeze and expand so they are actually full of dirt when they dig them up in early January. ET joked that they “marinate in the earth to get some of those nice earthy notes in the beer.”
- ET also wears a specific game-day outfit for these Patriots games. This consists mainly of a jersey he wears on top, with a specific shirt underneath. He only washes the shirt if the Patriots lose.
- I was very interested in this tradition. It seems completely counter-productive and wasteful to bury multiple beers in the ground for months. Additionally, the fact that many beers burst or become filled with dirt adds to the less-than appetizing taste of the beer. However, the argument that it brings the team good luck is a common theme in many traditions similar to this one.
Collector’s Name: James Baumann
- New England Patriots