Author Archive
Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Piggly Wiggly Day

Context

I asked the informant if he had participated in any folk group traditions — something shared by a select group of people connected through a specific shared culture or activity. In this case, the group was a marching band.

Main Piece

Alright so, I was in the drum and bugle corps, called the Madison Scouts, from… in 2015 and 2016. It’s, like, a summer thing so, like, you spend the… you pay like, three thousand dollars to tour the country with a marching band basically. And I did that for five summers, but anyways, in ’15 and ’16 I was in the Madison Scouts and they have a tradition where on the Fourth of July they go to Cedarburg, Wisconsin, and instead of calling it like the Fourth of July or Independence Day or anything they call it Piggly Wiggly Day, because — and this is not, like, all Cedarburg, Wisconsin, this is just the Madison Scouts, like, the people in the Madison Scouts, we call it Piggly Wiggly Day because one of the former members of the Madison Scouts now owns a Piggly Wiggly grocery score in Cedarburg, Wisconsin, and he caters, like, our food for an entire day from his grocery store and its like, we get kind of, like, fed, like, shit, throughout most of the summer so like, Fourth of July comes and we get like, catered shit and… it’s Piggly Wiggly Day and it’s a great time. Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

Notes

This piece reflects the diversity of the adolescent experience in America. Having grown up in southern California, I had never been to, nor heard of, the Piggly Wiggly grocery chain, while in Cedarburg Wisconsin, it held great significance for my informant and his fellow Madison Scouts. This tradition also shows the ways faceless brands and corporations often become a cherished part of people’s cultural fabric; a grocery chain feast can even replace a national holiday like Independence Day when imbued with meaning and reverence by a group of young Scouts. Piggly Wiggly Day can thus be seen as a prime example of reception theory.

Holidays
Rituals, festivals, holidays

Pickle Tree

Context

The following is the informant’s account of a German holiday tradition performed every winter by the informant’s family.

Main Piece

Thanksgiving, we get our trees. That’s, like, a tradition. For some reason we, ‘cause we live by a bunch of evergreen farms so we just like go out and chop one down on Thanksgiving and then, within the next week, my mom will decorate the tree, because none of us really want to, and there’s, like, this one ornament that’s shaped like a pickle that a lot of families have and I don’t know if its actually a German tradition, but my family’s pretty German so I think it is a German tradition. Basically, the pickle gets hidden like, in the tree, and then you have to like… usually the tradition is, like, Christmas morning you wake up and like, you go get the presents, and then the first person to find the pickle like wins, and in my family no one ever wins anything but you just like… you get the pride.

But then, in my family, it’s kind of like… the kids, like my younger cousins, really like it, so pretty much as soon as the tree’s decorated in, like, late November they just start playing it like whenever they want and they’ll just like, yeah. So that’s about it, you just find the pickle.

Notes

I had never encountered or heard of this tradition, but found that the hidden pickle is fairly common among Christians/Catholics of German and Dutch ancestry. Another informant of mine from Pennsylvania recognized this tradition immediately. What was also notable to me about hiding the pickle in the Christmas tree is that it bears some resemblance to the Jewish Passover tradition of hiding the afikoman, a piece of matzo bread wrapped in a special cloth, for the children to find.

 

[geolocation]