hard to argue with tradition; in particular, the two Stockholm events the past month, revealing both spiritual and material side of the beautiful city also advertised as the Venice of the North. The first event took place on Allhelgonsdag (All Saints Day) in Skogskyrkogarden (Forest churchyard)  where thousands of bodies lie interred, and where thousands of memories were invoked as thousands of people came to light the candles that lit up the graves in the darkness, a commemoration that was a triumph of continuity and respect over the shadow of encroaching hate and despair engulfing this continent.
The second, material tradition was the revelation of the department store NK’s Christmas decorations in the city centre. Handouts of pepperkakor (ginger biscuits) http://allrecipes.com/recipe/155728/traditional-swedish-pepparkakor/and glogg  (a drink made of wine) http://allrecipes.com/recipe/180453/old-fashioned-swedish-glogg/ both spiced with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves were on offer to the eager crowds, those with or without children. The intense expectancy of the adults was itself a revelation. Inside the store, one child after another, not all of whom were smiling, sat on Santa’s knee; and even those who cried, were captured in the act of crying, by the ubiquitous phones of proud parents; the phone being yet another Swedish national emblem.