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Wedding Cakes and Swords


Interviewer: “My question for you would be um…do you have any traditions that happen within your family that are unique to your family?

Informant: “Unique to my family? Yeah…um…so there are three. The first one is fairly new. It’s cutting one’s wedding cake with a sword. And the sword doesn’t really matter I think because it’s really new. But uh….my…I found out about it when my…older cousin did it at her wedding. Uh and they did it because they were looking, her and her fiancé Ethan. Her name is Kay and her husband’s name is Ethan.They were looking through her parents’ wedding photos and they saw that there was a picture of them cutting the cake with a sword! Of course…they thought, ‘that’s weird! What’s happening there?’ Uh…turns out that there was just a sword at the wedding and one of the relatives said ‘Hey wouldn’t it be funny if we cut the sword—we cut the cake with the sword?’ I think the sword was hung on the wall or something um…but it’s just it’s something they did and they got a picture so of course, Ethan jumped on that opportunity and said ‘I…wanna do that’ so sure enough they…they ended up cutting their wedding cake with a sword as well. And…although it’s only happened twice so far I very much plan on cutting my wedding cake with a sword because that sounds awesome and cool.”


There is a tradition starting in the Wierzbicki family of cutting wedding cakes with sword. There are currently two recorded instances of this happening. The informant first heard of this after witnessing her cousin’s wedding. Just seeing this happen has inspired her to do the same in the future when she gets married. I think it’s an interesting tradition and one that I think will be adopted fairly easily.

The Ed Gein Book


Informant: “The second tradition…uh…is eating Chinese food on Boxing day. And so…I think the tradition started several years ago…when…we didn’t…so there was some- I was young so I don’t remember very well- there was some dinner fiasco…on Boxing Day and everyone decided to get- to eat out…or to order in, more specifically. But because it was Boxing Day a lot of restaurants were closed. And it’s possible that this was Christmas Eve too. I’m not entirely sure but the tradition now is on Boxing Day.”

Interviewer: “And when is Boxing Day?”

Informant : “I think it’s the day after Christmas. But uh…so allthe places- a lot of restaurants closed and so we had to look far and wide for a restaurant and there was a Chinese restaurant that was open. So we just decided to order…a Chinese feast in. And so now the tradition is to eat Chinese takeout on Boxing Day cuz…the joke is that it comes in boxes. Chinese takeout comes in boxes so…it’s kind of a joke and it’s a fun tradition. It’s a lot of you know….it’s good Chinese food.”ED GEIN_AMERICA'S MOST BIZARRE MURDERER 1


There is a tradition in the Wierzbicki family of getting Chinese Food on Boxing Day. It started when some event happened(unknown to the informant) that spoiled the dinner for that day (Or possibly Christmas Eve). They then ended up going to a Chinese restaurant since that was once of the few places open that day. Now, every year on boxing day the family eats Chinese food. This tradition is one that isn’t just specific to the Wierzbickis. A similar event happens in A Christmas Story where the family’s food is eaten by dogs so they start eating Chinese food for Christmas dinner instead.

Boxing Day


Informant: “And then my third one (tradition), my favorite, which is also Chrsitmas…uh and many many years ago my father gave his mother, for Christmas, a book about Ed Gein, the serial killer. And he gave it to her cuz he was a Wisconsin based serial killer and they all lived in Wisconsin. Um and the book was a biography and there were pictures of his house that some of the-that some crime investigator had taken. There were pictures of…if you don’t know, Ed Gein is the serial killer who Hannibal Lector is based off of. There are a lot of famous pop culture serial cultures based off of him because he makes…furniture and clothing and stuff out of his humans, out of his victims. So he has like human skin lampshades and stuff uh… and there are pictures in the book of human corpses just strung up. Uh and severed heads and stuff. [Inaudible]…more like a big cow carcass. Yeah um…he got caught and that’s why they have pictures but there was a book about him and my dad gave it to his mother for Christmas and she thought it was absolutely revolting…and hated it so…the next year, sheee squirted a little bit of ketchup on it, to look like blood, and gave it back to him. Uh…now the ketchup is dried so it’s just kinda like a… a long brownish stain on the book but every year a new person gets the book. And there’s been repeats because it’s been so many years but every year a person gets a book as a surprise and people have tried to trick them by wrapping it in a small package that’s wrapped in a bigger box so they don’t know it’s the book. Uh but there are some rules that go with this tradition. One, you’re not allowed to get it until you’re 18…cuz there’re dead bodies in it. Though I actually got it earlier than 18 years old and my sister was very upset because she was older than me and she hadn’t gotten it yet. But she got it last year so it’s nice. Um…and then the other rule is that you cannot give it to our Aunt Mary or potentially anyone in her family because she claims that if she ever gets it, she will just throw it away, thus ending the tradition and we don’t want that. So she does not get it and yeah it’s it’s it’s fun. It’s fun to see who gets it and taking care of it and I was very honored to get it because it really felt like it was kinda my true real initiation into the Wierzbicki Family. It made me feel like part of the family.”


In the Wierzbicki family, there’s a tradition of giving and receiving an Ed Gein biographical book. It started when the informant’s father gifted the book to his mother. Disgusted by the book, she gifted it back to him with fake blood splotches the next Christmas. Thus began the tradition of regifting the book every Christmas. However, the book can’t be gifted to minors or the informant’s Aunt Mary. Despite this, the informant received the book before turning 18. This seems like a fun and harmless tradition. It’s interesting to see how one small event like giving a present can blossom into such a big family tradition.MV5BMWVkNDhjOTMtZDdhMC00YzAwLWEzZTAtODhmZGRhMzZkY2IwL2ltYWdlL2ltYWdlXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMDU5NDcxNw@@._V1_

The Kojiki


Interviewer: “So I’ve been told that you read something called the Kojiki. What is that?”

Informant: “Uh, it’s the first collection of Japanese myths, collected by …the…uh…one of the first government systems of Japan.”

Interviewer: “And how much of it did you read?”

Informant: “A decent portion. There’s kinda a lot of myths. Um…you don’t need to read it. They’re told somewhat chronologically um…but there’s dispute whether some myths come from different parts of Japan that were readapted to serve um…the main – the center of Japan like the Yamato region better. Um… so some of the myths are disputed in how they actually fit in the story but…um… I’ve read a decent number of them. There’s a couple of- there’s a lot of the Kojiki that just tells about the emperors in order and a lot of it get repetitive. They go somewhere, they conquer some new people and onto the next emperor.”

Interviewer: “Are the stories in the Kojiki realistic or are they more…fantastical?”

Informant: “Um…they get more and more realistic…as you go on. Um… it seems the idea is it starts with the most powerful beings and as they die off, more and more of the stories are about more humanesque characters if not humans themselves. SO it goes from being about like the gods Izanagi, Izanami, and their children to eventually being about the human emperors of Japan. It has fantastical elements but they seem to be more allegories of potentially real history. There’s a group of people described as the tsuchigomu- tsuchigomo, which are supposedly earth spiders which don’t actually exist as far as I’m aware of. I don’t think there’s spider people living in the earth but…it’s possible that it’s an allegory for an actual clan, like a group- or like a tribe that used to live in Japan. They probably lived in one of the more mountainous regions that was uh subjugated by one of the emperors.”

Interviewer: “When did you read the Kojiki?”

Informant: “I read it for…uh…a general ed course here describing-or talking about Japanese folklore and how it relates to older and then more contemporary Japanese works of fiction. So…um…uh older novels like the Goddess Chronicle um…and newer books, older movies uh…Tales of Moonlight and Rain is an older movie that draws a lot on Mythology and up til recently, movies like Paprika and Pampoco and um…much of Ghibli films.”


The informant talks about the Kojiki, a Japanese text that contains many folk stories and some history of Japan. It contains stories that sound like your typical myths and more realistic stories as well. Some of the more fictional sounding stories likely have roots in real events. The folklore of Japan has also found its way into a lot of Japan’s media. This includes movies such as Spirited Away. I’m very interested in reading the Kojiki as I find Japanese folklore to be a very interesting topic.

Zodiac Signs


Informant: “What do you want to know about astrology?”

Interviewer: “Let’s start with what is it.”

Informant:”Well…everyone is born under like a star sign…and also a moon sign and a rising sign butt that’s mostly- people typically focus on your star sign which is your zodiac sign. There’s a general belief that it’s like, it influences what your personality is gonna be like and like it can inform you on how to make decisions and stuff. Personally, I think astrology is all kinds of bullshit. And it doesn’t actually influence people but I really like astrology because you can just kinda make up shit and say it with a tone of authority. And that’s really good. So that’s my- that’s what it is to me.”

Interviewer: “When did you start to get into astrology?”

Informant: “I don’t know, I feel like I’ve always sorta been into like the dumb like ‘what’s your personality type’ thing so like…I don’t know I guess it’s always been in like my periphery. I just have fun with it.

Interviewer: “What would your zodiac sign be?”

Informant: “It’s Libra”

Interviewer: “And what does that mean?”

Informant: “Libra is the only…it’s the only zodiac sign not represented by an animate object. It is the scales and it’s sort of about balance and justice. Someone…like it’s typically someone who rationalizes things, and thinks through their actions and tries to find a middle ground in situations. It’s an air sign which tend to be more like…kinda disconnected and carefree and stuff. Uh….it’s from late September to late October-early October. That’s Libra.”

Interviewer: “And do you feel like that reflects you?”

Informant: “Mmm yeah I like Libra. I’m happy with it.”

Interviewer: “So there’s many different sites that can tell you your horoscope and stuff. Are they usually the same or are they different?”

Informant: “Um there tends to be common threads especially with like…I feel like there’s some zodiac signs that like sorta have more like… well-known associations like Geminis are like- everyone’s like oh that’s the two-faced sign so that tends to be pretty consistent and like…Generally speaking it’s the same for most signs like if you look up like…oh…like Cancer is like kinda like emotional and wears their heart on their sleeve and that sort of thing but like there’s some variation but they more or less follow the same metric. That being said, they’re like all kept sorta vague and that’s why people can associate with them so easily. It’s like ‘ah this person likes to have fun’ and everyone’s like ‘I like to have fun! That’s me!’ so yeah. Everyone does, that’s not a defining personality trait but that’s how they kinda get you to be like ‘ah yes I identify with this’.”

Interviewer: “What is something that you know about astrology that most people don’t?”

Informant: “Um…………..”

Interviewer: “If there is anything.”

Informant: “Oh there’s some stuff. Well I know my moon and rising signs too. Your moon sign…well the way it’s supposed to go is your sun sign, star sign, and zodiac sign, are all like the same thing. That’s like the main general one. And I think…I might not be remembering this corre- I can’t remember correctly at all but moon sign is like um…I can’t even remember how it’s determined. That one’s like more along the lines of the time you were born and it’s supposed to be like this is supposed to be your…like your inner personality that doesn’t really show on the outside. And I think rising is what people…Sun is what you project your personality is. Moon is what you are kinda more like internally and rising is what other people perceive you as? If I’m remembering correctly. That’s the…that’s the beans.”

Interviewer: “Okay cool. At some point during the last few years did the dates for the zodiac signs change?”

Informant: “Yeah well they tried to…they tried to insert like um a 13th one. I can’t remember it starts with an ‘O’. It’s like the snake catcher or something. Not sure exactly but it’s a guy with snakes. It’s not Orion, he’s the hunter. And I think…I can’t remember exactly the reason why…but I think the reason they tried to do this was that it was included in some cultures’ zodiacs but not others. And they were like actually…fuck that so as far as I know, most people- like they just tried to stick in this 13th one and then everyone just kinda said ‘actually no thanks. We don’t want that one’. So as far as I know nobody uses that 13 star Zodiac system anymore.”


I interviewed the informant about Zodiac Signs. The gist of what we discussed is that there are 12 star signs, aka zodiac signs or sun signs, and your sign is determined by what part of the year you’re born. These signs assign certain the person certain personality traits. There are many different sites that tell you about your zodiac sign, but they tend to say similar things and say them vaguely enough that people can identify them easily. There are also moon signs and rising signs which represent different aspects of your personality and are determined differently. At some point the zodiac signs changed to include a thirteenth sign, known as Ophiuchus. However, people ignored this so it was reverted back to the 12 month format again.depositphotos_30344761-stock-illustration-set-of-astrological-zodiac-symbols