From blowing fluffy dandelion seeds in Ireland to wishing on a fallen eyelash in Mexico, cultures worldwide project their hopes and dreams into the universe with unique and wonderful wishing traditions.
Explore More: Beautifully illustrated by Elisa Kleven (known for her award-winning Paper Princess series), playful images dance across the pages of Wish, a delightful collection of wishing traditions from around the world.
In Wish, Wishing Traditions Around the World, Writer Roseanne Thong rhymes through the wishing customs of 15 diverse countries, each with thoughtful explanations of the meaning behind the practice.
In Brazil, families head to the beach on New Year’s Day to jump seven waves then throw flowers and hair combs into the ocean while making their wishes. Jews from all over the world might visit Jerusalem’s Western Wall to write their wish on a note and insert it into a crack in the wall (over a million notes are left each year). In India, a child may wish on a peacock feather then place it between the pages of a schoolbook or journal. Thai children float boats filled with candles, coins, flowers, and incense down the river. These boats, usually made from banana or lotus leaves or paper, carry away bad luck so good wishes can come true. South African Zulus keep an eye out for striped weasels. If a wish can be made quickly as the weasel passes by, it is believed that weasel will carry the wish for as long as it takes to come true.
Each tradition is as interesting as the last, and we’ve used this book as an invitation to explore each wishing tradition more deeply on our own.
One of our favorites, wishing on a star, wasn’t included in this book but we appreciate the author for making us curious why. Apparently wishing upon a star began with the ancient pagan practice of Romans praying to Venus, the brightest light in the dark sky.
Between early bedtimes and cloudy skies, our kids don’t see the stars too often but when they do, a wish is always in order.