How Much of Midwestern Culture Comes From Somewhere Else?

Changing Gears just wrapped up our Midwest Migration series. The project documented the stories of people who left the Midwest in search of economic opportunity.

Now, we’re exploring stories of people who came into the region from other places. We’re looking for stories of how these traditions change and shape the identity of families, communities and cities. You can send in your recipes, traditions, family trees, usic and stories and become a part of the project.

Brigitte Kirchgatterer from Forest View, Illinois shared some of her traditions, and the photo at left. Her mother immigrated from Fulda, Germany and her Father from Volklamarkt, Austria. They met in Chicago. Kirchgatterer says that one of her favorite traditions is celebrating with Krampus around Christmastime. But, she says the tradition hasn’t always translated to America.

“It’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever had to explain to a non-Austrian in my entire life.” said Kichgatterer. “In fact, my kindergarten teacher in 1981 was so concerned about the “tall tales” I was telling after Christmas break she called my Mom about it saying,’Your daughter said the Devil comes to your house for Christmas?’ Only to learn it was all true!”
Share your traditions with the Your Family Story project here.


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