"Setting out on the voyage to Ithaca you must pray that the way be long, full of adventures and experiences."
- Constantine Peter Cavafy "Ithaca"
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©2008 W. Ruth Kozak



CULTURE
IRAN

If you ask an Iranian, how was the Festival of Fire in your childhood, he may answer you, I loved it, I loved to play with the fire, to jump over it, to measure myself with the other children, who could jump higher and wider and to stay awake all night long. I remember many years ago when I was a little boy we just had the fire and firecrackers were a rarity.
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FRANCE

Located in the South of France with a picture-perfect medieval old town, belle epoque villas, and a yearly average of 316 days of sunshine, it is easy to see why the seafront town of Menton is called the Pearl of France. It has also earned the title of the Lemon Festival Capital of the World.
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KENTUCKY

Shakers starting arriving at Pleasant Hill somewhere around 1805. As early as 1816 they were producing enough surpluses of brooms, preserves, packaged seeds and other products to begin regular trading trips to New Orleans. By the mid-1850s it was home to approximately 600 Shakers occupying 250 buildings and almost 2800 acres of land.
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EVERYWHERE!

It’s almost the end of another year. How will you celebrate New Year's Eve? Here are some of the ways that they celebrate in countries around the world, from Scotland, Brazil and Greece to New Zealand, Hong Kong and Ecuador. However you choose to celebrate, may the New Year bring you happiness and good fortune.
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KOREA

Travelling through Tuscany in autumn, you are bound to spot olive groves alive with activity as nets are spread out under the trees and olive pickers gather in La Raccolta (Harvest). This yearly event is an ancient tradition and methods have changed little over the centuries.
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NEW ORLEANS

The lifeblood of New Orleans is Mardi Gras, jazz, jambalaya and gumbo but “The City That Care Forgot” also has a spiritual side to it – voodoo. This religion was first brought to the Big Easy between 1806 and 1810 when slave ships were re-routed from Santo Domingo (present day Dominican Republic) to New Orleans during the Servile Wars.
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ITALY

Rome has been importing and distributing water for over 2,000 years. It is believed that the first of Rome’s fountains was established here in the 8th Century. Early fountains were built to service horses as well as humans. Some of the trough-like basins found in the city today are actually beautifully carved sarcophagi bought from churches in the middle-ages after they’d lain unused for centuries.
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MEXICO

The two-lane paved road rises and falls, twists and turns, like a dangling rope, through the rugged Chihuahua hill country of northern Mexico. It’s amazing that one of Mexico's most famous potters lives out here. Shimmering in the stark desert light is the village of Mata Ortiz, home of Mexico's renowned potter Juan Quezada.
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