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Randall School Family Cultures

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We always celebrate New Year inside the temple. We sit on the floor because we can pray. Some kids play outside. Cambodian people go there. Some American people go to the temple too. People say that if you don’t pray then that means you are rude.

The person that leads the ceremony is the Buddha because the Buddha lives at the temple so he gets to lead it.

New Year Ceremony at Home

We put food out in the altar because the spirit and the Buddha’s spirits can eat it. Every single New Year, you set the foods. We burn incense and we say something in our mind.

There’s a picture of a Buddha by the altar. Buddha’s always have to shave their had bald to become a Buddha. The Buddha always has to pray first because he’s a Buddha.


Our family enjoys making games. I think people like my dad make games because they’re kind of in charge of the games. And they are kind of like the Buddha’s workers. People said that grown-up people have more games than their kids because the grown-ups have their own games and they have more than the little kids.

Every single New Year we have different games to play and it’s much more fun. We have the rock game and different kinds of games First you need a cloth, on bag, and some rice. You tie the bag together. Then you make the games.

We sometimes play inside the temple. In the old temple we can’t because there’s some stuff that needs to bring to the other house. And the other one – that’s where people cook so then we have to play outside.

I learn how to play from grandpa and different kinds of people.

Yes, it is fun to play the games but it’s pretty hard if you don’t know it. But its not confusing when you know it already. It’s not so bad but when you know a little of it, it’s fun. And our games aren’t that hard to play. It’s easy to play.

People say that Cambodian food is really special. The food tastes spice and I’m used to Cambodian food. I sometime get my food in my garden and at the store. We cook Cambodian food and Vietnamese food because my mom is mixed Vietnamese and Cambodian. I don’t know how to cook Cambodian food but I know how to cook a little bit.

We have different kinds of food to eat. We don’t eat the same food every day. I eat eggrolls and different kinds of food.

My family enjoys making toys. I usually make the toys out of yarn and wood. I get the wood from a tree. I use tools to make dolls and wooden toys. I make wood yous, yarn toys, houses, and stick toys, and plant toys. Yarn toys are really hard to make. And the other ones are easy to make. And it’s fun making toys. Some people think it’s hard to make them, but once you learn how to make more, it’s easier and its much fun. I really like to make toys and different stuff.

Juan Pablo

My class is making a project of culture. I’m writing five pages on this essay of culture. I’m going to start on celebration. I’m from Mexico and I’m going to tell you about what Mexicans celebrate. The first aspect of my culture is celebration.

We celebrate Posadas. That is when Christmas is just coming. We go outside and knock on houses and ask if we can stay one night in the house because my wife is going to have a baby.

The next celebration I’m going to talk about is Christmas. At Christmas time, we bake a cake for the birth of Jesus. When it is 12 o’clock we give each other hugs. We wait until the kids go to sleep, then the parents put their presents where they left their card and wait until they wake up. Then the next day on the 25th, we drink soda.

The third celebration I’m going to talk about is New Year. First we ask our friends if they want to come. Then we tell them what time the should come. Then we make the turkey and set it in the middle of the table. When the other people come, they bring more food, such as tacos, salad, burritos, potato pudding, corn and vegetables, ham with pineapple, cake, salsa, tacos of head of the beef, cheese pie, and lots of rice.

At 12 o’clock we gave each other hugs. Then we took a glass and we put twelve grapes in it and we make a wish every time we eat one. Then in that same glass we put champagne and drink it so our wishes come true.

The next celebration I’m going to talk about is the Three Kings. On the day of the Three Kings, at 12 o’clock the kids go to sleep but they leave their shoe under the Christmas tree. Then the Three Kings bring them toys and money. If they forgot to leave their shoe, they don’t bring them anything.

The fifth celebration I’m going to talk about is the Day of the Dead. You go in the cemetery and with the person that died. Then you clean their tombs, put on new flowers, and put on music and wine for them. In the night you eat a skeleton of candy that you can make or buy. Then when you go to sleep you put out a glass of wine. When you wake up, it is all gone.

The sixth celebration I’m going to talk about is Mother’s Day. We buy stuff for our mothers without them knowing. You hide them in a safe place where they never look. Then in the night you give it to her and a hug with a kiss.

The next celebration I’m going to talk about is Father’s Day. In Father’s Day you almost do the same thing but you got to give them men stuff. Then at night you drink a soda with him and adults are drinking wine. Whenever he wants he could to sleep, but the next day they wake up with a huge headache.

The next celebration I’m going to talk about is Day of Work. On Day of Work, nobody goes to work so you have to buy your food before they close. If you want, you can stay up early or go to sleep early, or you can wake up early and go into a restaurant.

The last celebration I’m going to talk about is Teacher’s Day. On Teacher’s Day, the teachers can do whatever they want, like start a party, go out early, or play a game. They’re like kings.


Hi, my name is Marcus. I have a brother named Mitchell and a sister named Maia. My mom’s name is Gloria and my dad’s name is Dennis. I am going to tell you about our family’s celebrations.


Usually on Easter my brother and m e go to church and we have an Easter egg hunt. My sister doesn’t come because she says she is too old for little kiddy hunts. Every other year, Easter is on my mom’s birthday. So on Easter everybody in the family says happy Easter but they also say happy birthday.

4th of July

On the Fourth of July, Maia, my mom, my dad, and I go down to Warner Park to see th firecrackers. We lay down and talk about good times. We always bring something to eat because it starts right when we eat dinner.


On the day before Halloween, my brother and I go and buy costumes. I usually am a pirate. On Halloween day after school my brother and I put our costumes on then we wait. At about 6:30 p.m., we start trick-or-treating. We know our mom and dad are following us so we don’t care. When we come home, we have about two sleeping bags worth of candy.


On Thanksgiving eve, our family starts to cook our Thanksgiving dinner. They put the turkey in the slow cooker so it can be ready the next morning. When it is morning, my brother, my sister and I wake up really early in the morning with bright smile on our faces. We have a bright smile on our faces because we are thankful for everything that we have. We play games until 4 p.m. At 4 o’clock we eat. We have food like greens, macaroni, string beans, ham, black-eyed peas, and the main dish – turkey. For dessert, we have sweet potato pie and pecan pie. After we eat, we talk about good times and stuff we were grateful for.


On my brother’s, my sister’s, or my birthday, we always have a cake. But we never have a party. Our dad gives us $100 to do whatever we want with it. If we have a party, we will have to pay for it with our own money. It would probably take about fifty dollars, plus the gift baskets; that’s another thirty dollars. There it is – we would have only $20 left. After we open all the presents, we sing happy birthday to whomever’s birthday it is. Then we dig into the cake.


Every Christmas Eve my household makes Christmas cookies. We always end up making a mess. We make three each then eat them. After we get done eating our cookies, my mom and dad send us down stairs so they can wrap presents. In the morning, we wake up, run up stairs, and tear off the wrappings on our presents (this year they did not wrap the presents because all we do is just rear off the wrapping and throw it away; that’s just wasting money). I think they should just put a cover over it if they don’t want us to see it. Our family has Christmas dinner. We have mostly the same food we had on Thanksgiving. Our family comes over to my grandma’s house, even our family from Minnesota.


I have a big family. My brothers are mean except one brother. His name is David. My sisters are mean too. My mom is mean and my dad is mean too.

I am going to talk about foodways. My mom and dad make the food and they are the ones who bought the food. My mom and my dad got the food from the Asian Midway store. My mom cooks vegetables and meat. She cuts all of the vegetables and the meat. My dad helps out too.

My favorite dish is chicken. My family likes all the food that my mom cooks. My mom grows cabbage, peppers, cucumbers and carrots.

I like many celebrations. Christmas is a holiday in winter. It snows and Santa Claus gives out presents to kids. But Santa Claus isn’t that real. My family gets presents from my mom and dad.

My family can’t wait until it’s Christmas Eve. My brothers and sisters and I receive some presents from the Bay View center too. There’s no school on the 21st. Before we get out of school on the 21st we don’t have school because it’s vacation day.

The Hmong New Year is a celebration that Hmong people celebrate. You can eat at the Hmong New Year. There are a lot of dances on the stage.

Now I’m going to talk about traditional games and toys. I will talk about traditional games first. I am going to talk about how you play tag. Tag is a game where you play outside. This is how you play tag. You tag someone and he or she is it. He or she has to tag someone else.

Next my favorite game is hot lava tag. This is how you play hot lava tag. Pretend you are it and you have to stay on the ground. You can’t climb on anything. You need to tag someone.

My best game is called tic-tac-toe. This is how you play tic-tac-toe. You make a shape and you write it on a piece of paper. Then you have to put a X or an O on the squares.

This is a game called rock-paper-scissors. This is how you play rock-paper-scissors. You make a fist like a rock and if someone did a paper, you lose because the paper will cover you. The only you win is to do the opposite.

You can play these games indoors or outdoors.

Second, I’m doing toys that I like. My sisters play with Hmong dolls. The Hmong dolls are made out of cloth. The boys still play with tops that are old toys. The tops are made out of special woods.

Another game the boys play is ball. It’s made out of wood. You can toss the ball and you kick the ball. They toys are very useful. It’s fun when you play ball. The ball is hard because so kids can kick it but not kick it hard. The ball is heavy so kids don’t kick it hard so it won’t fly far in the woods. This is how you play. You just need to kick it. If you kick to a person you are good.

My family does storytelling. My mom, dad, brothers and sisters like to tell funny stories, jokes, and realistic stories. My cousins and uncles tell cool and funny stories to my family. My friends tell stories too, but the stories they tell are fake.

The stories my family tells are about when I was little when we went to Stevens Point and about family picture. I will tell you about my family picture.

My family told me this story about when my family and I were taking a picture. The picture camera was not flashing the light, so my cousin checked it. My cousin is the one who took the picture. And we tried and we tried, and it finally worked. When my parents went to pick up the picture there was a funny picture and the other picture was good. My parents came back and they ripped the funny picture up and kept the good nice picture.

From doing this essay, I learned that story-telling, celebrations, and traditional games and toys are important to my family. My family is special because my family is quite large. I have someone to talk to and play with all the time.


My family has a very distinctive culture.

Our family loves music. We each play at least one instrument. I play about five. We like to play music in our tape player too. We play and listen to many different kinds of music.

A recent addition to our family is a CD player. We got it for Christmas and are using it a lot. Before, when I got CDs from people, I remember thinking ‘oh darn, no player.’ Now we have one.

My mom is a major organic nut. She likes everything we eat to be organic and locally grown. She knows a lot of local organic farmers. She works at an institute to promote less pesticide use. We always buy our food at the Regent Market Coop. We really do adore this “little store you adore.” We go there at least once every two or three days. We also buy a lot of our organic produce at the Hilldale farmers market from Hmong farmers who grow mostly organically.

We don’t grow much food but we do get a big harvest of tomatoes and apples in the Fall which we make into homemade sauces. We also grow mint which we use for tea that lasts us all Winter.

We have a piece of land out in the country where my dad hunts, and we gather things from the land. We eat a whole lot of venison. We have venison stew in the winter and venison roasts and kebabs in the summer.

In the middle of the winter, we usually go out to our land and go sledding and skiing. We have developed a very funny tradition of making a snowman each year out there, even if the snow isn’t suitable for making a snowman. One year we made a mud-man instead.

My dad and I are passionate fishermen as well. Sometime we fish on Lake Wingra and on Lake Mendota, but only when we’re ice fishing do we fish on Lake Monona.

We have a few very old family stories that date back to the first Krome in America. Here is the underwear man story.

Wilhelm Krome came to America aboard a steam ship from Germany in the middle of the 19th century. His mother gave him ten pairs of starched linen underwear. When he got to New York he bought train tickets by selling his underwear, and did this all the way to Louisville, Kentucky. He ran out of underwear and settled there.

That story has been passed down by many generations of Kromes.

My great-great-grandfather Ventura came to America from Italy later in the 19th century. He settled in western Pennsylvania and worked in the coal industry. My grandfather’s mother’s side was in America since before the Revolutionary war.

We have a fireplace in our living room. We collect wood all summer, and my dad chops it and stows it in an elongated shack we call the woodshed. We have lots and lots of fires in the winter that heat the whole house and make us very happy. We like to toast chestnuts in the fire. We consume chestnuts ravenously in the winter and dream about them all through the summer.

In my family, we do not have many rules, but nevertheless we have a few. We do not have many consequences unless you count the ‘don’t leave coats, pants, socks, shoes on the floor’ rule. You get fined five cents an item, ten cents for a coat, if it’s left on the ground. We have a rule for brushing your teeth, which is ‘always put your brush away in its holder when you’re done brushing.’ Another is ‘don’t play the piano when someone else is on the phone.’ If somebody does something really bad, they get sent up to their room or made to sit in the gray chair, which is an old punishment.

We are Quakers except my dad, who is an atheist. We believe in Christian holidays, but don’t believe in violence, killing, or even violence on TV or other media. We are not stereotypical Quakers with big black hats and bonnets, which people think of as Quakers. We do not speak with “thee” and “thy” any more, but live by the phrase “thou shalt not kill.” We put that above the other commandments.

My mom sews a whole lot. She’s a pretty good seamstress, and does a lot of good work on her sewing machine. More than half of the time, our dining room table is cluttered with her sewing stuff. Right now, she is sewing a large quilt for my sister. Next, she will do one for me and then, she will make one for herself of her own design.

Both my mom and dad cook. They both cook well. My dad always cooks breakfast and on weekends he cooks lunch. And, he also cooks dinner when my mom is sick or on a trip or something. It is good that we have two cooks. My dad likes improvisational cooking; my mom uses recipes she knows.

I’d like to thank my parents for encouraging me when I was taking notes and letting me interview them. Thanks.


Family Cultural Expressions

In this essay, I will be telling you about my family’s cultural expressions. Now, I will introduce my family to you. My mom is 33 years old. She works in the big University of Wisconsin. My dad is 29 years old. He also works at the big University of Wisconsin.

First I will tell you about how my family behaves when we are invited to someone’s house.

Being a Guest

If my family is invited to somebody’s house, we do some Russian cultural things, like when I come into the house, I always take my shoes off (I don’t take my shoes off if the host insists on it).

Another cultural thing is, if the host says something, I should answer “yes” or “okay.” For example, “Okay, the food is ready! You can come up to the table.” So I should come to the table and eat.

An another cultural thing is, if I want to drink something, no matter how thirsty I am, I can’t just ask the host if he or she could give me something to drink, nor can I just take something to drink. I should wait until the host offers me something to drink. Only then I can drink something. If the host doesn’t offer something to drink at all, there is nothing you can do about it. If that happens, you should wait until the party (or whatever you were doing) is over then you can go back home and drink something there.

Now I will tell you about how my family and other people decorate their apartments.

I live in an apartment building. On the manager’s door there are always medium-sized stickers. There is one big sticker that is a bear holding one huge candy.

If it is Christmas, that management door has a decorative tree with artificial ornaments on it. On the bottom of the door, there those presents that have nothing but a box in it. There is also that artificial large oven with artificial fire in it (that oven is on the bottom of the door, just like those presents are).

My family decorates our own apartment with pictures. We have nature pictures, which include forests, trees, grass, and water. We also have Egypt pictures, which includes old Egypt humans, and Egypt masks. We also have New York pictures, which include big buildings, water and huge bridge.

On Christmas, we have a tree with ornaments on it. The tree is small, so we put I on a table.

Now I will tell you about some different food my family eats on holidays or special occasions.

When we celebrate holidays like Christmas or New Year, we usually eat several traditional dishes. One of them is pirozhki. Pirozhki is like egg roll, only it is kind of flat, and it has a shape of a very fat cylinder. Pirozhki usual are made out of dough and meat or cheese.

When we have holiday dinners, we use a traditional tablecloths called a Rushnik. It is usually homemade white fabric with bright red flowers and birds on it. But that is only the traditional design. There can be a lot of different designs. But there is one important thing about the Rushnik – if you were going to make the Rushnik, you have to have the same design on both sides.

Now I will tell you about toddlers and a Russian toy called Matroshka. If any family has a toddler, the toddler will play with a Russian doll called Matroshka. Matroshka is a round doll. On Matroshka, there is a drawing of a person. This is how you can play with Matroshka – you open that round doll, and inside there is a smaller doll, with another person drawn on it. And you keep on opening Matroshka until it gets too small to open. Then you can go backwards, put little dolls into big dolls. And you can play like that over and over again.

Some people play with Matroshka, others keep it in one place. The drawing on the dolls might be real people. I have a Matroshka with pictures of presidents on it. Other dolls have imaginary people on it (people that nobody has seen before).

Now I will tell you about my great grandma’s needlework. She sewed a lot of cool stuff. When my great grandma was young (that was in the beginning of the 20th century), she did embroidery and sewing. It was a hard time for Russia, because it was a world war. All the grocery stores and supermarkets were destroyed, so people had to alter old clothes for themselves. My great grandma had to sew dresses for herself; she had to sew and embroider pillowcases, sheets, and comforters in order to sleep. She also sewed and embroidered curtains for the windows and she placed curtains on her windows (but of course you know where curtains go). She usually used white flax and embroidered red flowers.

I hope you have learned some cool stuff form my essay. It was very much fun telling you about Russian traditional stuff.


My family is Hmong. My parents names are Boua chor Xiong and Soua Vang. I have four sisters and three brothers, but now I have three sisters and two brother in my house. Their names are Lee, Panga, Pahoua, Billy and Vistshais.

I’m going to talk about my family celebrations which are the Hmong New Year and Christmas. For foodways, I’m going to tell you about noodles, Hmong desserts, papaya salad, egg roll and spring roll.

My Family Celebrations

The Hmong New Year was on November 23 and 24 of this year (2001). Any person could go there but usually Hmong people go there more. The Hmong New Year was at the Alliant Energy Center. It was a huge place so that all the Hmong could go and have fun there. They had foods, drinks, flowers, toys, padao, clothes, and balls. There was stage because some people wanted to dance for the New Year.

The people have Christmas on December the 25th. We have Christmas in the US. Sometimes Santa Claus gave us presents. When it was time to open presents, we opened presents. After we opened presents we will all say “I got this. What did you get?” We played outside in the snow. We watched some Christmas movies and ate candies. Sometimes we wanted some special clothes so we went shopping for us. Sometimes we didn’t get what we wanted for Christmas. At the Bay View Center, we had to fill out a form to get some presents. My brothers and sisters wished to get a toy for Christmas.

My family loves to and likes to celebrate every holiday and New Year. My brothers and sisters can’t wait until it is snowing because they liked it when the snowflakes melt on their tongue. They sometimes build a horse, dog, house, snowman, and a tree. On Christmas we put some candy canes on our tree to make it beautiful so we could have fun celebrating Christmas. Afterward, we will share what we’ve got from Christmas. Sometimes your parents, Santa Claus, and friends gave each other some presents.


We need to have food every day or else we won’t get energy. We have all kinds of different foods. In the day, we have food and water. At home we have vegetables, meat and rice. My family likes everything but not all of the food because they didn’t try that much food.

In the day, we also have noodles and Hmong desserts for dinner and breakfast. The noodles we have are capoon, faur, and fried mee. You need meat, lime, and curry peppers to make capoon. You need meat, cilantro, and onion to make faur. You need oil, cilantro and peppers to make a fried mee. I like all kinds of noodles. My mom puts the noodles in a box.

I have a Hmong dessert called nava. You will need sugar, coconut, milk, and tapioca.

We also eat egg rolls, spring rolls, and papaya salad. In the egg roll you will need cabbage, noodle, carrots, onion, and pork. For papaya salad you’ll need tomatoes, salt, sugar, napa, lime, pepper, and garlic. For spring roll you’ll need meat and vegetables.

I think the most important thing to my family is foodways and celebrations because if we don’t have fun we will be bored and do nothing. Food helps you grow bigger and helps each other out.


Hi my name is Pao Vang. I will be telling you about celebrations, stories, traditional games, toys, ceremonies, foodways, and traditional music. I have a big family – six boys and seven girls.

On Hmong New Years, my family always goes there and watches people dance and sing. We also videotape the people that dance and sing. There is also a lot of food. The Hmong New Year is at Alliant Energy Center on November 24 and 25. A lot of Hmong people go to the Hmong New Year.

On a clan party, there is a lot of beer. The kind of beers they have are Budweiser, Miller Light, Bud Light and Colt 45. Whoever goes to a clan party and they fight, they get kicked out. A clan party is when a Vang or a Yang makes a Vang or a Yang party. The clan party is at La Follette high school and VFW bar in November or December.

On Thanksgiving my family always cooks turkey, chicken, rice, sticky rice, egg rolls, spring rolls, mashed potato and gravy, stuffing, eggs, and hot’n’spicy beans. Thanksgiving is on November 22. We celebrate Thanksgiving because it is fun.

Stories and Story-telling

My grandpa is a story teller in my family. He is very old and can still tell better stories than me. The kind of stories my grandpa tells are scary and funny. He tells stories to scare us and make us laugh. My grandpa only tells stories when he has time. My dad also tells stories. He tells funny and sad stories.

Traditional Games and Toys

Traditional games in my culture is the top and the ball game.

The top has a stick, a string, and a wooden top. You throw the top on the ground to make it work, but it is hard. When you throw the top, you have to pull back. A top game is when you throw a top on the ground.

The ball game is another traditional game. A ball game is when you find a boy or girl to play with you. Throw the ball to start the game. The ball game is only played on Hmong New Years. The ball is green and black. It also has designs on it.


The first topic is funerals. During funerals we go to a cemetery. I only go to a funeral if my mom tells me to go. A funeral is when somebody passed away and mostly everybody cries and cries and cries.

Second topic is marriage. When somebody gets married in my family, we drink lots and lots of beer, not get drunk, but to give good luck to the bride and the groom. The kind of beer they drink are BudLight, Miller Light, Budweiser, Red Dog, and Colt 45. They also drink liquor.


My mom and dad cook at the kitchen while my brother is busy cutting the meat. The kind of food my mom and dad cook is chicken egg and rice together, egg rolls, spring rolls, meat with lettuce, and a lot of other foods.

The egg roll looks like a spring roll but a little bit fatter and little bit shorter and has a different color. A spring roll is white and an egg roll is orange.

Traditional Music

A k’eng is a traditional instrument in my culture. A k’eng is made out of bamboo, and has a cover over it. It sounds loud and smooth. The k’eng could only be made by masters.

A flute is another traditional instrument in my culture. There are two different kinds of flutes – taj blaj and I forgot what the other one is called.

The jar harp is another traditional music in my culture. The jar harp is only made by masters. The jar harp sounds like a k’eng, but the jar harp is smaller. The jar harp is used to find a girl friend in Laos and Thailand.


The most important cultural expression in my family is ceremonies, foodways, and story telling.


I would like to tell you about my family and how we express our culture. I’m going to tell you about celebrations and ceremonies.

My family has many different celebrations. The first celebration I’m going to be talking about is the Day of the Dead.

In the Day of the Dead, we don’t really celebrate but part of my family does. On October 31 some of the family get together and go to the graveyard. They bring food for the dead people’s spirits. These are the kind of food they bring – sweet bread, tortillas, tamales, and other kinds of food.

Another celebration we celebrate is Christmas Eve and we have a lot of fun. One of the things we do until it’s 12 o’clock – my cousins and I play soccer, football and tag outside. However that is not the main part of the celebration. When it is almost 12:00, we count backwards and give each other hugs then drink some wine and it really tastes nasty. After we do all those things, we open our presents and have great time with our family.

Another celebration we celebrate is the Day of the Three Kings. When my mom was a little girl there were three men and they got dressed up as kings and they would go through the street and give children presents. They also ate bread, but it’s not a regular bread. It’s a sweet bread and it has a little plastic baby inside. If you get that baby you have to make a party at your house next time.

Next I’m going to be talking about ceremonies and they are really great ceremonies.

The first ceremony I’m going to talk about is baptism. What our family does is first we go to church. Then the priest give a message and he asks the parents why they want to baptize their baby. The parents answer. After that they pour the water and they are done. When they are done doing that we go to the party and give the baby present and have great time.

The next ceremony I’m going to be talking about is quinuañeia. We do that when a girl has the 15th birthday. That means they’re becoming a woman. We do many things at the party. We eat, dance and it’s really fun dancing. After that when it’s 12:00 it’s time to cut the cake but before we cut the cake we drink wine. It was a traditional ceremony. The girl that is 15 years old has to wear a white dress and of course a crown.

Another ceremony we celebrate is weddings. We celebrate the wedding in a way that is kind of something different. The couple gets married at a church. After the ceremony we go to the party and eat. Then when everybody is done eating, the grown-ups play a game. The object of this game is they divide into a women’s side and a men’s. So the women start running. They all are holding hands and all run around. One time my mom got to be the leader of the women. She went so fast. She was careful not to fall down because she was wearing high heel shoes. She didn’t run that fast but is was fun anyway.

I really enjoy all the ceremonies of my culture.

We have many kinds of foodways and I think I’m going to be writing a lot of them.

The first food I’m going to be talking is egg. Every Saturday and Sunday, my mom makes eggs sunny side up and sometimes smashed beans. She always makes them for me and my dad and not my sister because she hates egg. My mom sometimes eats eggs. When we are eating egg my mom goes and heats up tortillas. Then we eat the eggs and tortillas together, and it is really good and yummy.

Another food I’m going to be talking about is tamales. They are really good and I just love them. We make them, but not very often. We make them on special occasions, like Christmas, New Year, and weddings. When my mom and aunts make them, they get really dirty. First, my mom gets the tamales prepared. Then she puts them on the stove with water. They cook for two hours.

Community Places

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Hmong Culture at the Bayview Foundation

Today, November 30, 2001, we are going to Bay View to study Hmong culture. We looked at paj ntaub (pan doe) and interviewed the makers. We helped make egg rolls, which are not made unless there is a special occasion, like a Hmong new year. We also interviewed a shaman, and she told us how she had become a shaman. And 2 k’eng players told us about Hmong music traditions. And last, but not least, we interviewed an elder about Hmong ceremonies and traditions.


Bay view is a place where some of the Hmong came to live after they escaped from Vietnam. They left when the Vietnamese burned the Hmong villages and killed the people for fighting on America’s side.


A lot of people fought in the war, people as young as 10 years old eventually had to fight. Some people only go to live in Laos for 1 year because of the war. They had to swim across water holding onto bamboo. Some people got separated during the war and are still now trying to find their family and hoping they didn’t die.


ELDERS (Ceremonies)

Po’s dad gets to show you his medal from the war and the army. We ask him what age he went to war, and he said he was 15 years old when he joined. He said lots of the army died from the war. And he also said that he got shot in the leg.


CLANS: The Hmong legend goes that the Lord created lots of clans so the Hmong could get married There are about 15 to 20 clans, the most powerful are: Cha, Yang, Vang Mua, Lor, and Lee. Mr. Lor says being a clan leader is hard because he has to attend funerals and weddings, know how to help everyone, solve conflicts, and all his family must listen to him and trust him.


In Hmong culture, your last name tells people what clan you are in. People consider other people in their clan their brothers and sisters. You are not allowed to marry someone in your clan.


FUNERALS: The older Hmong tradition is when someone passes away, you get a messenger to call all the family and tell them what happened. In the Hmong culture, you can’t have a funeral without a k’eng player. The music helps lead the spirit to the new world.


The person that has died must wear 100% cotton material so it will disintegrate. If the family of the one who has died finds any cotton material, the one who put it there has to pay the family a fine for putting it there.


Mr. Lor said that they use different ceremonies for different things: funerals, weddings, new births, and old-time friends.


For greeting ceremonies, if you just meet someone on the street, you can just say”hello.” But if it is a well known family member who has been ways for 7 or 8 years, a giant celebration will be held for the home comer.


Unfortunately, less and less people are learning the traditions of Hmong culture because they spend most of their time at work. Becoming a shaman or a clan leader is very time consuming.


I also learned that lots and lots of people help out in one way or another with Hmong funerals. The older the person, the longer the ceremony.


Your spirit – when you die- chooses what to become (e.g., plant, animal, human).


When Hmong people get married, both sides of the family give the bride and groom food, money, clothes, and what they need to live on. When you get married or have a kid, you are considered an adult, and you in-laws have to give you a new name.


Folktale Collected at Bayview Foundation

The Mother and the Naughty Boy
(Collected and Translated by Pakou)

My mother told me this folktale. I translated it from Hmong into English:

Once there was a mother who had a son. She was very nice but the son was very naughty.

One day his mother ran away. When he found out he cried and cried.

He then went to see a fortuneteller. “Where is my mother?”  he asked.  The fortuneteller gave him two clamps to make the animals tell him where his mother is. He went on his way and searched for his mother.

Along the way he saw an ant. He asked, “Ant, have you seen my mother?” Ant did not tell him so he clamped the ant. Finally, Ant told him the way to another animal.

Next, he met a worm. He asked worm and it did not tell the boy, so the boy clamped him and finally he did tell him the way to another animal.

After that, he met crab. He did the same thing to crab. “Ouch, little boy, since I don’t have any clamps, why don’t you give me those two clamps and I will tell you where your mother is.” The boy gave crab the two clamps.

“You head straight up this path and it will lead you to a pond. There you will find a couple of frogs. You must ask them to swallow up all of the pond water. Down way on the bottom, you will see your mom weaving. As soon as you see her, you jump in.”

The two frogs did just that and the little boy jumped in. “Why have you followed me here?” asked the mother. “You did not listen to me.”

“Mother, I am sorry. I will listen to you from now on.”

Next, the little boy went to ask the grandpa if he could take his mom home. The grandpa said, “You can take your mom home only if you can find me in a game of hide-and-seek.”

“Yes, grandpa, that is a promise.”

The grandpa then transformed into an apple way up in the apple tree. The little boy searched and searched. He gave up. He then went to the pond and asked his mom to help him.

She said, “Sweetie, do you see that red apple up there? Throw rocks at it and your grandpa will come out.” The boy did that and the grandpa came out.

Next, the grandpa turned into a needle on his mom’s blouse. The boy again asked his Mom and his Mom pointed to the needle. The boy took the needle and threw it in the bonfire.

The grandpa came out screaming. “Okay, I give up. You win. You can take your Mom home now, but you must love her and listen to her. Or the next time you won’t have any more chances.”

So then, Mom came with him and the little boy has always listened to his Mom.

Gathering Places near Randall School


The Geology museum is located on dayton st. right by union south and right by the university heating plant. Well at least the building is. It’s also on the tweleve hundred block .The geology museum is actually one floor of the building it’s in . I forgot the name of the building but I think it’s the Lewis G.Weeks building .

In the front of the building there is a court yard with a fountain and rocks with numbers in them. The reason they have numbers on them is because there’s a post with a board on it that has the numbers on it and explains what the rocks and minerals are next to the numbers . All around you except for the two arches there should be a large brick building with glass doors and windows . Now go through the doors and there should be a glass show case of the founder : Lewis G. Weeks and now I remember what he name was & it was the Lewis G. Weeks building. So they ‘ll have a lot of things about him .

After looking at the show case , then turn to your left and walk until you get to the next hall then turn to your right and there should be a door with the words geology museum on it and a picture of a mammoth skeleton on it . Go through this door . When you get through this door you should be in a large room with a huge gigantic globe in the middle . Just past the gigantic globe there’s a door that leads to the museum , go through that door . As soon as you get through the door…


LuLus is on Old University Ave. next door to James J and a scuba diving place. On the outside it’s a white building with a yellow awning and brown/black writing that says LuLus restaurant on it.

There’s a bush on each side of the door. Also, there are two green benches on each side of the small lawn. The inside is beautiful Arabian lamps and Oriental rugs.

After you sit down, you can get a good look around. If you look up you can see loops of white fabric. If you look straight ahead you can see a beautiful scene of an Arab city with bright blue skies- drapes of fabric hang here too. In the back the hall widens and there is a small place to buy Middle Eastern food. Keep going and you pass a kitchen door and the restrooms. There are two closed off places to eat in; one is small made for about five people with tapestry hanging on the wall, the second place is bigger but not as nice. It is made for about fifteen people, but it’s only white and brown and has no tapestries.

The people are mostly adults, today I’m the only child here. What most people do here is eat and talk, no matter what they came for. Still other people are bustling around cooking and serving. These are the waiters and waitresses, if you listen hard you can hear yelling from the kitchen.

I interviewed my Dad about LuLus. He likes that it is a family restaurant. he likes the Middle Eastern cuisine. He says, “There are a lot of food choice you can’t find any where else in town, and the Middle Eastern decor is very nice to.” He loves the creamy lentil soup, also known as the “s1”. “The spices are beautiful and bring out the flavor”. His favorite main dish is the humus balmy, which is ground beef, humus, garbanzo beans and a few other things. It comes with a delicious tabouillon and tomato salad.


My place is on 2136 Regent St. across from Big Mikes. It is called the Regent Market Co-op. There is a big sign at the top of the store that says Regent Market Co-op. It says Pepsi on both sides of the sign. I don’t know why. Under the sign there is a red and white striped awning. Under the awning there are 3 windows with pictures in them. On the inside there 4 aisles and a place where they sell meat in the back.You buy the stuff in the front of the store. Most of the people that go there are in there fortys or older.

There are almost 0 young people exept kids who come with their parents. Most of the people are caucasian. The people that go there are usualy buying dinner. Sometimes they see people that they know and start talking. The store used to be owned by a guy named Joe. Some people called the store Joe’s. But 4 years ago Joe sold it. Some people still call it Joe’s.


Franklin school,is located on two different streets. One is Potter St.. The other is Lakeside St.. Lakeside St. is the front of the building.And Potter is the back st. It is located Lakeside St. There’s a playground for kids who go to school there. On the playground there are swings, play structures, a little stage and a blacktop. there’s a parking lot for teachers and grown ups who work there park their cars. The building is made out of red brick and is three stories high, including the basement. It has a library, a music room, an art room, and a gym.


My gathering place is on Regent Street. In winter it looks like a big castle with snow around it. In spring it looks like a beautiful house with flowers. The East side looks like a hospital or a laboratory with lots of rooms and crazy people in the rooms. Or a house of a principal ghost. All the kids at Randall say that a principal died there.


The Arboretum is on Arboretum drive and about a block from the Vilas Zoo.It’s sort of a nature preserve were many people gather. It’s a gathering place for bikers, runners, skiers, business people, and the animals.

From what I saw on December 3rd it was mostly women that were in their late 20s, 30s, or 40s. It’s pretty important to the people who come there and especially the animals that live there.

The Arboretum has a forest, prairie, and a small area of marsh. Every year, the Arboretum gets at least 85 different kinds of birds. My mom thinks that a group of people protected it and tried to keep it in it’s natural state, but some of the trees are in the wrong soil and there’s no under story.

If you were to look at the Arboretum from a bird’s eye view, you’d probably think it was a forest and prairie, but it’s got some marsh too.


My gathering place is West High School. On the outside there is a brick wall and three balconies; well not really a balcony, its more like on the belt line they over lap. There is a foot ball field and track. the street. It is on is Regent Street. It is a really busy street. Our school is on the same street as West High School. Next to the foot ball field is a tennis court. There is also a parking lot.

On the out side, there are about twenty classrooms. There are two gyms and a swimming pool. There are also a lot of drinking fountains and lockers. They have 3 stories. They have almost a thousand teenagers in that school.


James J’s Chocolate shop is on Old University Avenue, It sells everything from marzipan to sugar free candy. Candy making has been in James J’s family for three generations and was taught to him by his uncle. James considers their almond-butter toffee their specialty although they are advertised as a chocolate shop. The store is next to a knitting shop and a Middle-Eastern restaurant. They get most of their customers locally but there is a big hotel right next to it.


Vilas Park is in the south side of Randall and Franklin community.It is a big park. It also has 2 playgrounds and a basketball court . It has a soccer field. How gathering happens there is every summer time my family and I [go]. My sister, she always follows my mom and dad.

Why is it in important ? It is because you can go there with your family and you can gather there. Also what I can enjoy at the park is the playgrounds.


My gathering place is the Monroe Street Library. It’s on the corner of Monroe and Garfield, right next to an Affordable Futons store. All kinds of people gather here, like book clubs, college students, elementary students, why, even toddlers and infants come here.

The Monroe street library is a small brick building, it’s long and narrow, and it has a glass front. The inside has a grey rug, and white walls. The computers are across from the main desk, and they are at the front of the room. The tables are in the middle of the room, next to the adult fiction. There is a children’s table at the back of the room in between the children’s non-fiction and a section called Readers. The tables are green topped and have about four chairs at each table. There is a toddlers table, it has a stack of books on it, it is also green, but it has green chairs and only two.

Usually there are only three to seven people here at once, not including the librarians. most people are middle aged and white, but not always. Most days when I come I’m the only kid, but some times there are babies here. Most people here talk and read, and people usually read the newspaper. My gathering place is not a very active place.

Rockdale Dam

The Rockdale Mill was built in 1846 to grind flour and make food for animals. Back then, Rockdale was a busy place. It had two stores, a barber, and a blacksmith. Kids used to skate on the pond. In 2000, the Wisconsin DNR took out the dam. Now there is a stream where the dam used to be. There are lots of fish in the stream. Huge carp up to 15 pounds are caught in Rockdale. “They look like whales!”, said Janice Redford, the lady who showed us the mill. So a lot of people who missed the dam are now excited about nature.


Every summer, a summer a group of Ho Chunk Indians came to Rockdale to get wild rice. They called the place Koshkonong. In 1846, a dam and waterfall were built. It was a cool place. In the 1920s, they used the side of the mill to show movies.

Now, the old mill wheel is under the water. It has been lost for a long time. A lot of people are still looking for it.


Volunteer Fire Department

A volunteer fire department is a fire station where the people don’t get paid. The one we visited takes care of 94 square miles.

An average fireman/woman gets paid 40 or 50 thousand dollars a year. It is very kind that the volunteers do the same thing, but for no money. The department has a summer fest to raise money. All of the activities are physical. The activities are meant to improve your skills on things.

Some people have been at the department for 27 years. They go through a 14-week training session. The first thing you learn about is how to keep yourself safe, and how to work with other people. Every time they get a call they see something different. There are no secrets between firefighters. They share almost everything.


About 30 volunteers work at the Black Earth Fire Department. One of the volunteers if Paul Fassage, the chief of the fire department. The department was started over 100 years ago.

In this fire station, there were 35 men and only two women! Wow, what a big difference. The firefighters said that as time goes on probably the number of women will change.

The firefighters showed us the vehicles they used. There was the command vehicle (obviously used for giving commands) and the tanker (carries 3500 gallons of water), which has a fold-a-tank that goes on top of the tanker and also carries 3,500 gallons of water. There is a heavy rescue truck, which carries air, masks, the Jaws of Life, and ten firefighters. They have another tanker that only carries 1,500 gallons of water but also has four-wheel drive. They have a main engine with water pumper, ladders, and the hose.


One of the funnest things I did was go to the fire station. We got to ride in a fire truck. I waved at people. We got to go around the block and by the ShoeBox. After we came back we had to go to the Jaws of Life. The Jaws of Life is like a big scissors, so you can cut down doors or cut wires or just cut something big. The Jaws of Life weighed like 25 pounds, so it was pretty hard to pick up and cut things.


I really liked when Mike told us the fire stories. Some of his stories were scary, like the one where one man was driving home in his car and it was pretty foggy. And then he accidentally killed himself by crashing into a horse, and he also killed the horse, because when he crashed into the horse, the horse’s head went flying through the air.

There were a lot of calls for the firefighters, and a lot of them were sad, but a lot of them were happy, and some of them were really funny.

One day Mike and his fellow workers received a call that an apartment building was on fire! The firefighters, of course, responded, and they went there in a hurry. But when they got there it turned out that the chimney made the smoke, and there was nothing that was so scary!


Mike’s first story was about a fire in a trailer. When they got there, a neighbor hold them a lady was still in there, so they went in. They looked through the whole trailer. They had to search everywhere. When they looked in the last room, they fell through the floor. At this time there was lots of fire, and they had looked through the whole house. So they assumed no one was in there. They got out of the hole and left. Two hours later, Mike and his brother went in. While they were looking through all the ashes, they found a skull, lungs, and a stomach.


My favorite part of the fire station was when we got to put on the firefighters’ clothes. They were heavy, especially the helmets.


The clothes they have to wear weigh 60 pounds, and that’s not counting the oxygen tank.


When I put on the firefighter outfit and fell down in them I was amazed that I couldn’t get back up!


KIDS-4 TV Station

Kids 4 is an television station operated by kids from little to 17. It’s on Channel 4. On these shows, the kids do the acting, directing, editing, and everything else, but sometimes they don’t control the cameras. In the building, there is a “Wall of Fame.” It has all the names of kids who have participated in Kids 4 on it. There is layer after layer of names. The station has high-tech equipment, such as digital editing and expensive cameras, and although kids do operate the cameras, they usually edit non-digitally.

Since the kids do everything, after a while they can graduate to a larger and harder position. Kids 4 has two sets, and that is so you can have two shows being filmed at the same time. Kids 4 teaches kids about life, and how not everything you see on TV is true. It teaches about peer pressure.


Kids go to Kids 4 when they are about my age (I’m 10). There, the professional TV people show them all kinds of things about TV. For example: how to work with a camera, how to work with a microphone, etc. Once the kids are finished with the basic steps, they go to an advanced level where they make commercials, shows, and even a little movie! Once you have done five special programs (you have completed them successfully), your name gets on the paper, and once you’ve done ten special programs, your name goes on a golden sheet, so everybody would know you’re an accomplished TV dude.


Schubert's Old Fashioned Café and Bakery

Schubert’s is the community meeting spot for Mt. Horeb. Every morning, a group has coffee there. They tell stories, mostly about recent events. The story going around lately is about a deer disease law suit. They also tell stories about how Mount Horeb used to be a small town, and as it got bigger, the government wanted to put in subdivisions. But the people of Mt. Horeb felt they should keep some areas the same. (There are 6000 people now, but 20 years ago there were only 1800.)


At the restaurant, we got pastries. Very good ones. We got to pick out of a selection of them. I got a Long John with frosting and sprinkles on top. Gabby got a chocolate cupcake with loads of frosting. They also gave us the recipe book that is used for the creations of the restaurant, Norwegian pastries called rosettes – dough that is shaped and then deep fried and sprinkled with powdered or brown sugar. Mmmmmm!

The guy who gave us pastries was a 4th grade teacher long ago (well, not so long ago). So next time you are in Mount Horeb, stop at Schuberts!


When we went into the kitchen, we were greeted with a warm aroma of some unknown delicacy.


Several residents of Mt. Horeb came to talk to the kids about their community. Mount Horeb is a really clean town. The people are really polite and friendly. There’s good industry, antique shops and really good places to eat. You will remember a lot of people who live in Mount Horeb, because it is a really small town.


Sons of Norway

The Sons of Norway in Stoughton was originally founded almost 100 years ago. The intention was to have a place where Norwegians who newly came to America could have a place to take refuge, eat traditional Norwegian food, and tell Norwegian jokes, and invent Ole and Lena. At least so Jim told us.

Now they host a variety of events and pitch in and help run Syttende Mai. They have Norwegian summer camp where nothing American or English is allowed. No American candy, music, language, money, nothing. That has to be hard! They also help the community with service projects and things like that.



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Sportsman's Lodge

Transcription: Leroy Haag, President

“Before hunting season we tell the guys we got to prepare for the game feed, and that gives them a couple of months. Then they come in and let us know what they got. . . . We got elk, we got a lot of roasts. And what I’ll do is like tomorrow we’ll put them in a marinade till Saturday and we slow cook it. We cook it real slow and that’s the trick in doing game.

“What we try to do is we got a whole lot of wild game recipe books. What we’ll do is pick something out of there and we’ll experiment a little bit with it, first, but we try to make it so we have something a little bit different every year. Always try something new. This year we’re going to do some pheasant and turkey, instead of roasting them were going to take the breasts out and when we’re done we’ll cut little wedges, like you buy at McDonald’s or wherever, and we’re going to roll them in flour with some spicing and we’re going to brown them and deep fry them. They get done real fast and if you cut them in real narrow wedges, they’ll get nice and tender.”

Rosemaling and Syttende Mai Royalty

Introducing Helen and Chester Johnson, the 2001 king and queen of Stoughton’s Syttende Mai! Syttende Mai is a Norwegian holiday celebrating the birth of Norway. In Syttende Mai a lot of people wear bunads, a costume that people wear in Norway. The embroidered skirt Helen was wearing indicates waves.

The Syttende Mai king and queen spend a week going around to schools, nursing homes, and many other places around town. Something very important about the selection of Syttende Mai Royals is that the chosen ones are not chosen because of their beauty but because of what they have done for the town. A couple of good things they did were restoring the clock tower, donating land, working on the Stoughton depot, and starting the first skateboard ramp and youth center. Helen was also the mayor of Stoughton.

I am grateful for the beast,
Within it is the zest,
And the vitality of life,
And the source of spirit and strength.
Yes, very pretty, isn’t it?

That is a verse that Chester and Helen Johnson’s son rosemaled onto a plate. It was very beautiful.


Their son lives just on the outside of Stoughton, and he used to sell his art. He is now part of the Wisconsin Rosemaling Association.



To people of Norwegian descent around the world, Syttende Mai (which translated into English means seventeenth of May), celebrates the day when Norway gained independence from Sweden.

The Syttende Mai Festival in Stoughton claims to be the biggest outside of Norway. 40,000 people come to Stoughton for Syttende Mai fest every year. Can you imagine planning that? Beth Bauer can. She puts Syttende Mai together and makes it run smoothly. They have some old games for little kids. They have a running contest, and it’s two miles long. They have a juggler and a storyteller there. There is some Norwegian food and and a luncheon on Saturday. The whole town celebrates Norwegian. Some people that are not Norwegian still celebrate the Norwegian background.


Every year a new Syttende Mai king and queen are selected to ride in the horsedrawn carriage. They are informed in September and have to keep it secret until January. Then they can tell.


Jimmy the Groundhog

On Tuesday, March 5, Mr. Wagler’s 4/5 class stopped in Sun Prairie to learn about Jimmy the Groundhog. First thing you need to know is that Groundhog Day started a long time ago over in Germany. It was brought over from Germany by three gentlemen in 1947. Doctor James Weiger was the man who actually caught the first groundhog, so he got to have the honor of having the groundhogs be named after him.

Cherie Krisher (“mother” of Jimmy) has had the Jimmies for 18 years of generations. She told us that the first groundhog was pretty aggressive, but as the groundhogs spent more time in captivity they became more gentle.

Groundhog Day is very important to Sun Prairie. This year Jimmy rode up in a limo. Anybody whose birthday is February 2 gets to have birthday cake up by Jimmy the Groundhog. The mayor, who supposedly can speak Groundhogish, picks Jimmy up and tells the crowd that they will be having six more weeks of winter or an early spring.


Jimmy the Groundhog predicts if we will have six more weeks of winter. If he sees his shadow he will get scared and go back to his den, and there will be six more weeks of winter. If he doesn’t see his shadow, he doesn’t get scared and starts playing outside. Spring will come.

Groundhog Day is always February 2 because that is when the first Jimmy was born. There have been seven Jimmy the Groundhogs.


A carrot and peanut butter is a great treat for Jimmy. His normal food, though, is rabbit pellets. He gets them three or less times a day. He lives (in winter) in a crate about eight feet tall and four feed wide. The crate is full of hay so Jimmy can burrow down.

Burrowing is a natural thing that groundhogs do. It’s for safety, warmth, food, and shelter. Groundhogs are smart and neat, so if you see their burrows you’d laugh. They have two compartments, one for sleeping and one for a bathroom (and they have an extra escape route just in case).

Check out Jimmy next February 2 (pray he doesn’t see his shadow!).