There are hundreds of holiday traditions around the globe, many of which you've probably never heard of -- the giant goat made of hay (Sweden), the witch that brings candy (Italy), the burning pile of dirt (Guatemala).
Some of these are well known like those in the Basque Country, Catalonia and Flanders. Others are much more surprising -- for example, hands up if you really knew about the Venetian and Bavarian independence movements?
Make a wish and blow out your birthday candles. See a shooting star, stop what you are doing, and offer your longings to the universe. These are wish-making tactics for wherever you may be, but what of the places that have a strong history of wish lore?
Where is the good in the atomization of the world? In building walls, constructing differences, implementing ideologies, confronting religions, imposing control through language? We have plenty of experience of that.
My wife Jackie and I have never been ones to flee wintery New York weather and head for sunny climes, but I must admit that it was nice to take off from JFK airport in January's sub-freezing temperatures and arrive in Barcelona.