The Library Blog

Edinburgh Napier University

Lego Day

Celebrating Lego Day

It’s world Lego day today. Lego is one of those toys that is ubiquitous with childhood. Anyone growing up in the West will know immediately what you mean when you mention it. It is the joy of Children everywhere, and the thing that drives most parents mad. Is there anything more painful to stand on!?!

In fact, people who have regularly experienced walking on hot coals and broken glass say Lego is by far the worst thing to walk on (source). Feeling brave? You always have a go at the Lego Firewalk. Personally, I’d rather walk on glass or coals!

History

It was in Denmark, at Ole Kirk Christiansen’s workshop where Lego was firstborn. In 1934 it became called Lego after the Danish phrase leg godt.  They were originally called Automatic Binding Bricks, but less originally they were based on the Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, already patented in the UK.

Over time Lego has grown to become the biggest toy company in the world and is not only used as toys but as movies, artworks and they even made an amusement park you can visit.

Mindfulness

Lego is no longer just for children; in fact, they have many Lego sets dedicated to adults. There is some fascinating research connected to mindfulness about how doing Lego can help our mental health. We actually keep a Lego set behind each Library Help Desk you can borrow for free. Why not check one out next time you visit…if the library staff aren’t already playing with them that is!

Learn More

We have a fascinating and diverse range of materials for you to read on Lego, from issues with Dentistry (teeth and Lego are a bad mix it seems!) to build your own Lego Robots. Check out Librarysearch.napier.ac.uk.. Just type in the word “Lego” and start reading!

By Juliet Kinsey

Sources: Wikipedia

RSPB Garden Birdwatch

RSPB Garden Birdwatch

This year we’re promoting the RSPB Garden Birdwatch in our relaxation spaces. The birdwatch has been running since 1979 and it’s very simple to take part in. All you need to do is count the maximum number of each type of bird you see in an hour either in your garden, from a balcony or in a park. Your results can be entered online. This year the birdwatch runs from 27-29 January. It’s a good way to take a break from your studies and you are contributing to a valuable citizen science project. The results are published later in the year and are useful for conservation projects and make interesting reading about the state of our garden birds.

“I think the most important quality in a birdwatcher is a willingness to stand quietly and see what comes. Our everyday lives obscure a truth about existence – that at the heart of everything there lies a stillness and a light.” – Lynn Thomson, Birding with Yeats: A Mother’s Memoir.

All the information you need can be found at Big Garden Birdwatch or scan the QR code on the posters in the relaxation spaces.

You can use Library Search to find books and articles on birds, conservation and citizen science which are in our collection.

By Vivienne Hamilton

Image by Marko from Pixabay

read more about the power of nature in our article  on “thriving in nature”

Australia Day

Australia Day takes place on 26th January and is the country’s national day which celebrates national unity and acknowledges its citizens and their contribution to the country. It marks the date in 1788 of the landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove. Around 750 mostly petty criminals were transported from the UK along with around 300 medical and military personnel to establish a colony which has since become a desirable place to live and a vibrant tourist destination.  Between 1945 and the early 1980s many UK nationals emigrated to Australia through the £10 ticket programme which sought to bring in migrants to fill labour shortages. The programme saw more than a million UK nationals leave for Down Under. Nowadays it’s one of the world’s top destinations for backpackers hoping to experience some of the enviable Australian lifestyle.

Australia

Australia has come a long way since 1788 when that first penal colony was established. There are iconic and innovative buildings and architecture such as Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Australia now celebrates its indigenous heritage in the form of Aboriginal art and culture. There are also stunning natural wonders: vast outback, Uluru, Great Barrier Reef (A UNESCO World Heritage Site) and the vast outback and spectacular coastlines. The Australian wildlife is pretty unique, there are those cute koalas and bouncing kangaroos. Sydney also hosts the Mardi Gras one of the world’s largest Pride festivals. Australia boasts top-flight cricket and rugby teams, tennis players and let’s not forget surfing which must be the country’s national sport. Then there’s the barbecue-the country’s best-known foodie export. Simple cooking on coals outdoors works well in Australia; perhaps we should have left it to them. We’ve all been to a barbecue in this country where the sausages have been burnt or which has been cut short because of the weather.

Long before remote teaching was introduced for students during the covid pandemic, Australia had been remotely educating students living far from the nearest school in the outback. School of the Air launched in 1951 using radio to deliver classes to these children. Now wireless technology is used enabling better communication and faster marking!

Neighbours

We couldn’t think about Australia without giving a mention to what must be Australia’s most famous export – the soap opera Neighbours. Launched in 1985 it quickly became a daytime tv favourite of students. Set in the fictional Ramsay Street in the suburb of Erinsborough, Melbourne it’s the show that launched a thousand pop careers (Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan and  Stefan Dennis to name a few). With far-fetched storylines, impossibly good-looking residents and seemingly endless sunshine it’s no wonder that for 30 minutes each day from Monday to Friday we were quite happy to be whisked away to the other side of the world. In 2022 it was announced that Neighbours would end, and the final episode aired on terrestrial tv on 28th July 2022. Only a few months later Amazon Freevee announced the return of Neighbours on their platform in 2023 so loyal fans will still be able to follow their favourite soap once again.

Finally, Happy Australia Day to all our Australian staff and students!

You can use Library Search to find books and articles on Australia, soap operas, and Australian tourism.

Image source by Joeyy Lee

Scottish Traditions: Burn’s Night

Scottish Traditions: Burn’s Night

Burns Night is a traditional celebration of Scotland’s national bard, or poet, Robert Burns. It is held on 25th January, Burns’s birthday, when Burns suppers are held. They consist of a meal, poetry recitals and songs. The first supper was held at Burns Cottage by his friends on 21st July 1801, the fifth anniversary of his death.

If you think that you don’t know any of Burns’s work, ask yourself if you have ever sung Auld Lang Syne on Hogmanay/New Year’s Eve or used the lines “My love is like a red, red rose” on a Valentine card. If you have then you are familiar with some of his best-known work. Burns wrote his first poem aged 15 and in his short life wrote a vast number of songs and poems that can be accessed here. He wrote in a light Scots dialect which was easier for those outside Scotland to understand and often wrote about very humble subjects, for example, his poem “To a Mouse” is inspired by the field mice Burns saw while ploughing on his farm.

The Life of Robert Burns

Burns was born on 25th January 1759 in Alloway south of Ayr, the son of poor tenant farmers. He received little regular schooling, but his father taught him to read and write along with arithmetic, history and geography. He was also taught Latin, French and maths by John Murdoch.

For much of his life Burns, like his father, was a tenant farmer, all the while writing poetry and songs. But he struggled to make a living from farming and when he was offered a position on a plantation in Jamaica, he decided to emigrate. He could not afford the passage and a friend suggested he try to publish some of his work to raise the funds. In 1786 Poems in the Scottish Dialect was published and became an immediate success. Later that year Burns left for Edinburgh to publish a second edition which again was successful and earned him a substantial sum of money. He was well received in Edinburgh, often a guest of aristocracy, and made many friends, some becoming sponsors.

In 1787 Burns returned to southwest Scotland taking a lease on a farm in Dumfriesshire, but he also trained as an exciseman in case the farm was unsuccessful. He gave up farming in 1791 and moved to Dumfries where he made contributions to several volumes of songs, sometimes adding his own lyrics to traditional folk melodies and composing his own melodies from fragments of tunes. He continued to write poetry too, some advocating reform such as “The Slaves Lament”.

He continued to work as an exciseman, often making long journeys on horseback in all weathers and this may have contributed to his ill-health at a rather young age for the time. On 21st July 1796 Burns died aged just 37.  His body lies in the Burns Mausoleum is St. Michael’s Kirkyard, Dumfries along with that of his wife at the time, Jean Armour.

Burns is renowned for having had many romantic relationships which resulted in several children being born, although not all survived infancy. Today over 900 people worldwide claim to be descendants of Burns.

Host your own Burns Night

Due to covid-19 restrictions, many Burn’s suppers will be cancelled this year, but you could host your own with your household.

Need some inspiration to host your own Burns Supper? Why not try out some Burns Night recipes here. Penguin books have a guide on how to run your night and for inspiration, you can listen to or read some of Burns’s work through our Library.

By Vivienne Hamilton

Learn about other World traditions on our blog by reading:

New Year Traditions from Around the World

Spanish Christmas Traditions

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year 

22nd January 2023, Year of the Rabbit

Happy New Year, 新年快乐, xīn nián kuài lè

January 22nd marks Chinese New Year, a holiday that is celebrated by 20% of the global population. Also known as the Spring Festival, it marks the end of the cooler months, taking place between 21st January and 20th February, lasting for 16 days.

Chinese New Year Traditions

Chinese New Year involves a lot of traditions involving decorations, food, and customs which symbolise blessings and good fortunes. Traditionally, it is a time spent with family (usually visiting elders of the husband’s side first), and large feasts are prepared particularly on New Year’s Eve which is considered a time for family reunion. Feasts are seen as offering to the gods and blessings for the New Year where ingredients’ names and appearances can symbolise good fortune.

Fireworks are set off at night and in the morning. According to the myth, night fireworks scare off monsters and bad luck, particularly the monster Nian (年) who was a monster that lived at the bottom of the sea. Once a year, he would scare people into mountains out of fear of eating them and their livestock. However, people soon realised that loud noises and the colour red scared off the monster and so began to fill their homes with red decorations and set off fireworks. And speaking of red, elders will give children red envelopes that contain money. It can be given to friends as well and now digitally. It is known as New Year money, carrying the hope of good fortune.

Year of the Rabbit

2023 marks the year of the Rabbit and unfortunately, if this is your zodiac, it means a year of bad luck. Rabbits are seen to have pure characteristics and are extremely kind. They are the fourth animal out of the zodiac. The legend is that Jade Emperor told the animals that the order of the zodiacs will be determined by which of the animals would arrive at his party. The Rabbit was confident of his speed so he decided to have a nap. By the time he woke up and went to the party, three other animals had already arrived before him. For any Rabbits out there, there is more information on how your 2023 will be at ChineseNewYear.net 

 

Read more about New Year traditions in our post on Scottish New Year traditions

Find more resources at Library Search 

Image source by Jason Leung 

January and Wellbeing

January and Wellbeing

It’s that time of year when the festive celebrations are over, and the promise of spring still seems quite far away. January is often the time when many of us start to feel the winter blues which is why it is increasingly important to be kind to yourself and look after your mental health. 

While the short winter days and cold weather can sometimes make it less appealing to adventure outdoors, there are benefits to wrapping up warm and heading outdoors to experience the smells and sounds of the winter. Small things such as the feeling of crunch of snow underfoot, spotting a robin on a tree branch, or stopping to admire beautiful patterns created by frost can all bring a little joy and help to boost spirits.

Self-care

Thriving with Nature – a guide for everyone was published by the Mental Health Foundation to help readers find ways of connecting with nature throughout the year. The guide contains creative and straightforward suggestions for activities to help engage with nature and encourage you to get outdoors regardless of whether you live in the centre of a city or out in the countryside.

The Library has several books on nature and the benefits it can have on our health within the Shelf Help collection:

Braving the wilderness: the quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Brené Brown.

The Wild Remedy by Emma Mitchell

Into the forest: how trees can help you find health and happiness by Qing Li

Don’t forget, ENGAGE Fitness at Edinburgh Napier University provides a performance gym, fitness suite and sports hall at the Sighthill campus for those days when you don’t want to exercise outdoors.  A student trimester pass is available for only £55!

Search the Library more nature or fitness-related printed or online resources on LibrarySearch.

Read more on wellbeing in our section ShelfHelp, full of useful and interesting books or take some time out in our Online relaxation Zone

How to achieve your New Year’s Resolution

How to achieve your New Year’s Resolution

Why is it so hard? and what science can do to help.

It’s that time of year again when many of us make resolutions to change. Some of us set long-term goals such as losing weight, exercising more or spending time on productive hobbies. Others go for shorter-term ideas, such as following Veganuary or perhaps Dry January. A chance for us to “try out” lifestyles which are better for us.

Whatever your plans, it’s always good to try and live an improved, healthier, more considered life.

Saying that though, it’s incredibly hard to stick to these goals. The question is why? We all know what we should be doing. We all know that salad is better than a takeaway. That we should exercise more and turn off Netflix to read a good book. Somehow that knowledge alone doesn’t translate into action.

Although there is no simple answer to what motivates us, that hasn’t stopped science from finding ways to help us. So read on for some explanations of how our minds work and what we can do to work around them and achieve our desired goals.

Small Changes

One of the easiest ideas to follow is to use small changes that lead to bigger changes. Many writers promote this idea, and there is some good evidence to back it up. You can look up studies such as the “small changes/healthy Habits” study available through Librarysearch. Also, there are plenty of books based on the idea like James Clear’s “Atomic Habits” (Find it at Merchiston Library).

For many of us, big changes overwhelm us and send us running for the ice cream. No one wants to sit and eat only vegetables and drink water, however drinking one glass of water before each meal is a small, simple change that most of us can do and not feel pressured over. Skipping that extra sugar in your coffee can quickly become the norm, and taking the stairs rather than the lift can create real changes in your body. These small changes over time can help make big differences. Furthermore, doing these tiny changes keeps our brains happy, allowing us to embrace the new habit and make it a part of our routine.

Gamification

A bit of a buzzword in the last few years, this term can be applied to changing our habits by sparking the serotonin in our brains and turning something like exercise into fun. Why not use an app on your phone to turn a boring run into a race for your life away from zombie hordes? Yes, there’s an app for that! Many smartwatches and fitness trackers let you compete with friends to win virtual trophies. Or go old fashioned and simply join a team sport rather than just trudging to the gym. The comradery and the competition can help inspire you to keep to new fitness goals. You can check out some of the current research in papers like this article analysing  “Gamification for health and wellbeing: A systematic review of the literature“. Feel like going in-depth? Why not read up on conference proceedings like this conference paper ” Does Gamification Work? — A Literature Review of Empirical Studies on Gamification. Alternatively, try reading this inspiring and engaging online book “Gamify: how gamification motivates people to do extraordinary things”, available online through the Library.

Temptation Bundling

This is a fun term that basically means doing something fun at the same time as doing something you need to, but really don’t want to. It’s based on the theory known as Premack’s Principle. It is a relativity theory of reinforcement, which “states that more probable behaviors will reinforce less probable behaviorsSource. There is a wealth of articles on this in Librarysearch if you want a deep dive into its applications.

Here are some examples: Only watch that trashy tv show you love when you do the ironing, have difficult meetings at your favourite restaurant or listen to your favourite music whilst looking through mundane work tasks.

Present me/Future me

This is an idea that we are always “present me”, and future me is not here now so forget about them. Sadly poor future me always pays the price of present me’s decisions. So to “future-proof” yourself you need to make it easier for “present you” to make good choices. No snacks in the cupboards, have those workout clothes laid out first thing in the morning, or in your bag for work. Remove the social apps from your phone and prep healthy meals in advance. Make it easier to make good choices in the moment.

In conclusion

If you want to know how to achieve your New Year’s Resolutions, the trick is to make it easy and fun. Small changes, preparation and finding ways to make less enjoyable activities more fun is the key.

By Juliet Kinsey

Read more related articles from our blog, such as our post on meditation, or check out our Shelf Help guides and online relaxation space.

Image Source

Scottish New Year Traditions

Scottish New Year Traditions

An old Scottish New Year tradition was First Footing – all you had to do was grab a lump of coal and a bottle of whisky and visit your neighbour to “see in” the New Year. This tradition is thought to date back to the Viking times and is quite quaint and sedate, but in modern times some of our New Year traditions have become a little bit crazy…..

Stonehaven Fireballs

This spectacular display takes place in the town of Stonehaven in Aberdeenshire. Roughly 40 people take part and at the stroke of midnight, the fireballs are lit and are whirled around by those brave enough to take part in the procession along the High Street. The balls are made from wood and fabric soaked in paraffin and then enclosed in wire mesh. The procession takes around half an hour and the balls are hurled into the sea at the end. The origins of the tradition are unclear, but it has now become a popular tourist attraction. If you can’t attend the procession, there has been a webcam allowing remote viewing in the past which will hopefully be running again this year and the link is here. You can check out previous processions online-just click here.

The Ba’, Kirkwall, Orkney

The game begins at 1pm on New Year’s Day when the Ba’ is thrown up from the Mercat Cross outside St. Magnus Cathedral. Two teams, Uppies and Doonies try to get the Ba’- a leather ball filled with cork handmade by local craftsmen- to their respective home goals. For Uppies it’s at the far end of the main street opposite the catholic church, and for Doonies it’s Kirkwall Harbour. If the Ba’ “gaas doon” then the players are expected to jump into the harbour. It’s a contest of scrums, pushing, shoving, fast sprints and sneaky smuggles. Where your allegiance lies used to depend on where you were born with Uppies being born south of the cathedral and Doonies born north of it. Now with many women being sent to Aberdeen to give birth, most men play on the side their father or grandfather played on. The game mostly takes place on the town’s main streets with businesses and homes boarding up their properties to prevent damage.

There are no rules, and a game can last for many hours with little movement of the scrum. Only when a team member manages to get the Ba’ to the outer players can a fast break or smuggle (up a player’s jumper) take place. It is then chaotic with those in possession of the Ba’ trying to get as close as possible to their goal whilst throwing the opposition off the trail by using the winding lanes in Kirkwall’s streets.

Once the winning team has reached their goal, the Ba’ is presented to a member of the team-usually someone who has participated for many years. It’s a lot easier to watch than take part in-click here to watch the Ba’ from a previous year.

The Loony Dook, South Queensferry

Held on New Year’s Day, The Loony Dook is a charity event requiring the participants to dip into the freezing cold waters of the Firth of Forth. The name comes from two Scots words, loony (a crazy person) and dook (to bathe or take a dip).

The first Loony Dook took place in 1986 when some friends suggested it would be a good hangover cure. The following year it became a charity event with proceeds going to local charities such as RNLI Queensferry. Over the years the event grew to include a fancy dress parade and became so large it had to become an organized event. Each year thousands of onlookers come to watch participants who are greeted by pipers and offered hot porridge before taking the plunge.

The event has caught on in other Scottish seaside towns along the Firth such as North Berwick, Kirkcaldy and St. Andrews so if you can’t make it to South Queensferry, then you may be able to catch the action at a different venue. If you prefer to stay warm and dry at New Year then click here to view a previous Loony Dook from the comfort of your home!

By Vivienne Hamilton

Find amazing resources on Scotland in LibrarySearch.napier.ac.uk

Read more about Scottish Traditions with this post on Burns Night.

New Year Traditions from Around the World

New Year Traditions from Around the World

A lump of coal just won’t cut it anymore. I need a more carbon-neutral gift to take to my neighbours at New Year, and you don’t get much more carbon-laden than a lump of coal. I started to wonder if there were any tips I could pick up from revellers around the world. My research didn’t offer up any gifts, but I did find some interesting traditions – some quite quirky – that I may adopt.

Japan

Let’s start in the land of the rising sun.  Joya-no-kane is the ancient Japanese tradition of ringing temple bells. The bell is typically rung 107 times on 31st December and once more when the clock strikes midnight. According to Buddhist philosophy, 108 is a holy number, representing as it does the 108 material desires that humans experience throughout the course of their lives. When the bell is struck for the 108th time, it is believed it rings away the problems and worries from the previous year. Many temples attract huge crowds of worshippers on these occasions. The Chion-in temple in Kyoto and Nara’s Todaiji temple are famous for their gigantic bells, the ringing of which requires the efforts of more than a dozen monks.

Brazil

Down in Brazil a rowdier, yet no less spiritual tradition, is unfolding as the goddess Iemanjá, Queen of the Ocean, rises out of the sea in Rio de Janeiro (in the form of a human representative). Revellers flock to the beach as fireworks explode overhead and samba music fills the air. Up to 2 million people, typically wearing white as a sign of peace, place white flowers and floating candles on the shore and send them out as offerings to the goddess, hoping that she’ll grant their wishes in the new year.  But beware – if your offer is washed back to you, Iemanjá is not pleased and may not grant your wish.

Costa Rica

Moving north, and those Costa Ricans really know how to celebrate. You’re welcome to join in as they feast all night and party on the beach. Make sure you dress for the occasion, though – and that means wearing yellow underwear for good luck. Oh, and don’t forget to throw a pan of water – containing all your worries – over your shoulder. The most endearing Costa Rican tradition, in my opinion, is the practice of taking a suitcase for a walk around the neighbourhood to ensure plenty of travel opportunities in the year to come. In these Covid-restricted times, however, it may be best to park the suitcase for the time being. Maybe next year!

Greece

Back in Europe, and the Greeks take a belts-and-braces approach to luck – letting out the bad and welcoming in the good. It’s customary for Greeks to hang an onion on their front doors as a sign of prosperity and regrowth. And on the stroke of midnight, Greeks open all their windows to release those pesky evil spirits, the kallikantzaroi. Try doing that during a Scottish Hogmanay hoolie!

Scotland

Speaking of Scotland. Here we celebrate New Year’s in a big way. The Scots call New Year Hogmanay and it’s used as an excuse for big parties such as Ceilidhs, usually involving large amounts of traditional Scottish food and drink. Once Midnight arrives it is traditional to sing Robert Burns‘ “Auld Lang Syne” whilst holding hands in a circle.

Another Scottish tradition still common is “First footing”. This involves being the first person over the threshold of another’s home bringing a symbolic gift for good luck. If you are being truly traditional it should be a dark-haired male, and he should bring with him symbolic pieces of coal, shortbread, salt, black bun and a wee dram of whisky. The dark-haired male bit is believed to be a throwback to the Viking days, when a big blonde stranger arriving on your doorstep with a big axe meant big trouble, and probably not a very happy New Year! (source)

Denmark

But it’s those northerners, the Danes, who have a really smashing tradition. On New Year’s eve in Denmark, it’s time to gather up all your old broken and chipped crockery and smash it against your friends’ doors. They claim it’s a sign of lifelong friendship, and who am I to argue? After all that exertion, you reward yourself with a slice of kransekage, a huge cake made of layered marzipan. Pity there’s no plate left to serve it on.

However you celebrate, wherever you are, we wish you a very happy New Year, Akemashite Omedetou, Feliz Ano Novo, Feliz Año Nuevo, ευτυχισμένος ο καινούριος χρόνος, Godt Nytår.

By Lesley McRob

Read more about New Year on our blog with our articles on Spanish traditions and New Year’s resolutions

Image SOurce: Pixabay

Winter and Christmas in Edinburgh

Glossary: 

Dreich – tedious; damp and wet (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-50476008) 

Hogmanay – New Year’s Eve (in Scotland) 

 

If it’s your first Winter in Edinburgh: you’re in for a treat! Edinburgh tends to get crisp and cold between December and February (ok, sometimes wet, and dreich too…) but there’s plenty going on and our city is buzzing over Christmas and the New Year. 

Winter Walks 

If you’re willing to wrap up warm, why not take a walk around Arthur’s seat? Arthur’s seat is an extinct volcano in the centre of Edinburgh, near to coffee shops on the Royal Mile if you need a gingerbread latte to warm up afterwards. 

Another lovely place to go in the frost or snow is Dalkeith country park – there are festive events on too! There are many trails to walk in this beautiful park, set over 1,000 acres. The park has a rich history, having been in the Buccleuch family for over 300 years. The site dates back to the Roman times. 

Another option is to head up Calton hill for a panoramic view of the city lit up in full Christmas mode – it’s not a difficult walk up the steps. You can also see the National Monument and Nelson monument. This is a popular spot on Hogmanay to take in the fireworks too. 

 

Calton Hill in the snow

Calton Hill in the snow

Picture Credit: Pixabay 

 

 

 

A little further afield but worth a trip is the lovely Roslin Glen. You can see the ruin of what was once Scotland’s largest gunpowder mill. You can also see the impressive and partly ruined Roslin Castle. A short walk through the glen takes you to the famous Rosslyn Chapel, founded in 1446 by Sir William St Clair. In the New Year, you might see the snowdrops starting to come out in the Glen. 

Finally, another bracing walk in the wintertime is a walk along the promenade at Cramond. If you so desire, you can walk from Silverknowes along to Cramond and if you’re feeling adventurous and have checked the tide times , you can walk over to Cramond island. According to the Cramond Association, Cramond is the oldest known site of human habitation in Scotland. 

Christmas Lights 

If you’re looking to soak up some festive illuminations, there are a number of options in Edinburgh! 

In the city centre, the Christmas Market lights up Princes Street Gardens with an Ice rink, big wheel and Christmas tree maze – https://showcatcher.com/edwinterfest/christmas 

At the west end of Princes Street garden, you’ll find Santaland, with a festive family funfair. 

George Street also boasts Christmas lights and an enormous Christmas tree which can be seen at the top of the mound – apparently this tree has a history, and is a gift from Norway each year. This tradition dates back to WW2. 

Looking for more lights? The Botanic Gardens hosts a light trail each year, which is pretty spectacular, and you couldn’t ask for a nicer backdrop. Have a look at Christmas at the Botanics for more information. 

Another light spectacular to take in this winter is Edinburgh Castle’s ‘Castle of Light’. This involves projecting light onto the castle’s walls and ramparts and a historical walking tour. 

 

Last but not least, Edinburgh is well known for its Hogmanay celebrations, and in 2022 Edinburgh will host its giant street party once again. For the uninitiated, Hogmanay is the Scottish word for New Year’s Eve. 

The celebrations also include live music and a huge fireworks display at midnight. Lots of kissing, hugging, and dancing ensues! 

Looking for something quieter? 

If you’re looking for a cosy corner to curl up in when it’s cold and snowy, come to one of our campus libraries. You can check our festive opening hours here. 

You can borrow Library items from Friday 9 December 2022, and you won’t need to return them before Monday 16 January 2023. Full details can be found here. 

Remember, we’re always here online too – you can continue to access ebooks, ejournals and databases usingLibrarySearch, even if physical libraries are closed. 

 

By Judy Wheeler

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