Call them customs, second nature or ways to celebrate the passage of time: rituals are humanity's waypoints on our journey through life. Since prehistory, humans have used rituals to find meaning, cope with danger, quell anxiety and strengthen social bonds. From the quotidian Asian breakfast that's been elevated to an almost spiritual act, to one writer's annual bird-like migration to Antarctica, our latest issue of SUITCASE Magazine honours the joy found in rituals old and new around the world.
In Romania, where modern witches still rely on ancient talismans to conjure up magic against darkness, Grace Lee meets Mihaela Minca, the self-styled "most powerful witch in Europe" - and receives not just an initiation into how ancient occult practices are colliding with modern-day tech, but lessons in building an empire, too.
On Estonia's Kihnu island, meanwhile, we discover that wedding preparations begin not on engagement but in childhood, when girls learn how to sew the symbolism-rich clothing that will form their dowry. As writer Emma Latham Phillips and photographer Aron Klein find, such practices are not just traditions but a way to ensure a culture's survival.
South of the equator, Jamie Lafferty is on his ninth pilgrimage to Antarctica. Penning a love letter to the white continent, he lets us in on its profound beauty and vastness - as well as his feeling of near irrelevance within it.
Back in Asia, photographer Mark Parren Taylor explores the reasons why some 400,000 pilgrims make the journey to Mount Fuji each year. Some are followers of Fuji-ko, who believe that deities reside in the surrounding land, forests and water, but even those who aren't will find a visit to Fuji is rich in all kinds of ritual and ceremony, be that in teahouses or temples.
If sunshine and spice are more what you're craving at this time of year, don't miss Ling Low's tribute to Kuala Lumpur's morning meal - an essential gastronomic ritual that's sure to make a breakfast person out of anyone.
Discover these stories and more in the latest issue of SUITCASE Magazine. The act of reading them? A ritual in itself.