Edinburgh Napier University

Category: Celebrations (Page 1 of 2)

Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos)

Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos)

The Mexican Day of the Dead known as Día de los Muertos is a two-day holiday celebrated from the 31st of October to the 2nd of November to honour and reunite the living and dead together. It is a reunion where the spirits of children join on October the 31st and the spirits of adults join on November the 2nd.

 

 

Image of person in a flowered veil and face painting of a skull.

Day of the Dead face paint

 

 

The ritual originates from the Aztec and Nahua people who saw death as an eternal part of life. The Nahua rituals were held in August where food and water were to aid the deceased in the journey to the Land of the Dead and therefore contributed to the traditions of today.

It is a very colourful celebration and altars are decorated with marigolds, and photos of their loved ones, and food and drinks are consumed. The Marigolds are golden pathways to guide and attract the spirits. Families gather either at home or in the cemeteries at night to light candles and play music. There is no crying or grieving but to enjoy and appreciate all human associations and comforts on a spiritual journey.

 

 

Printmaker and cartoonist José Guadalupe Posada used the skeletal figures to mock politicians. La Calavera Catrina is the most iconic work that features a female skeleton in ornate clothing. Sugar skulls known as Calaveras are decorative skulls made from sugar or clay to symbolise that death is not all that bad. They are often embellished with jewels and face painting. In contemporary Day of the Dead, skulls masks are worn, and treats are consumed. Pan de Muerto is a simple sweet bread that is consumed all year round!

 

 

Image of Pan de Muerto and Marigolds

Pan de Muerto and Marigolds

 

 

You can find lots of articles on the Mexican Day of the Dead in our LibrarySearch

 

Other resources

https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/day-of-the-dead

https://dayofthedead.holiday/

 

 

Black History Month

Black History Month

October marks Black History Month in the United Kingdom.

Known as the ‘Father of Black History, Carter Godwin Woodson brought forward the celebration of Black History in 1926 in the United States. Initially, it was the second week of February, as Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass celebrated their birthdays. But in February 1969, at Kent State University, it was proposed that it should be a whole month and the first Black History Month was celebrated at Kent State a year later.  President Gerald Ford became the first President to recognise Black History Month in 1976.

Black History Month in the United Kingdom

Black History Month was first celebrated in the United Kingdom in October 1987. That year marked the 150th anniversary of Caribbean emancipation, the centenary birth of Jamaican political activist Marcus Garvey and the 25th anniversary of the Organisation of African Unity. October also coincides with the start of the Academic year. It was seen as an opportunity to bring in mainstream education. As organiser Akyaaba Abdai-Sebo recalled

I was stirred up in the mid-1980s by the identity crisis that Black children faced. A crisis of identity faced us squarely despite the Race Awareness campaigns of the Greater London Council and the Inner London Education Authority. More had to be done and so I conceived an annual celebration of the contributions of Africa, Africans, and people of African descent to world civilisationSource Link

At first, there was a focus on Black American History, but the emphasis shifted to ‘recognise the contributions and achievements of those with African or Caribbean heritage in the UK (BBC)

Decolonising our Collections

Here at the Library, all our Librarians are working hard to decolonise and improve the diversity of our Library collections. We realise the importance and significance of the work we need to do here at the Library. Not just when celebrating Black History Month but all year round to make our Library inclusive to all.

You can see some newly added books on our BIPOC virtual bookshelf.

More Information

Remember to check out our library/book displays at each campus site.

You can find out more including details on all the events that are taking place across the country at:

https://www.blackhistorymonth.org.uk/

Also, check out our Library catalogue for more information on Black history and to see new titles we have added.

By Maya Green

National Poetry Day 6th October

National Poetry Day 6th October

Today is National Poetry Day. An annual celebration whose aim is to celebrate excellence in poetry and to increase its audience. Poetry is a vital service, according to the statistics. The National Literacy Trust tells us that in 2020 66.5% of children and young people agreed that writing poetry made them feel better during lockdown. Furthermore, in the same year sales of poetry books rose by 33% in October. And a report by Runnymede Trust and Penguin Random House found that poetry is the most common way for secondary students to encounter a Black, Asian or other minority ethnic author.

The NPD was founded in 1994, but poetry itself is as old as humanity. It may, in fact, be our oldest form of artistic expression; it certainly predates literacy. The word poetry comes from the ancient Greek poieo meaning “I create”, and humans have been creating down the centuries, using poetry to articulate every emotion as well as to record oral histories, and important events, to entertain and to offer prayer.

Do you know your haiku from your limerick? Your ode from your epic? There are dozens of different types of poetry. You’ve probably had a go at a few of them yourself, and if you’d like to participate in this year’s celebration, see here:

Events – National Poetry Day

Library Resources for National Poetry Day

Of course, we have a huge range of poetry resources that you can access via LibrarySearch.

LibrarySearch Library Catalogue 

We have books on how to read it, how to write it, how the greats do it, and why it matters. We also have access to the Poetry Archive which houses recordings of poets reading their own work out loud. It features the works of contemporary poets alongside historic records of Seamus Heaney, W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot and many others.  Of course, we may be biased, but we believe that one of the best poems within the archive, is Library Ology, written and presented by Benjamin Zephaniah. You can listen to it here:

Library Ology – Poetry Archive

Or how about checking out Poets on Screen, a library of 879 video clips of poets reading their own and other poets’ work. We may be biased, but we love this tender and moving poem – The Keepsake – written and read here by Fleur Adcock (spoiler alert – it features witty librarian jargon).

The Keepsake Read by Fleur Adcock – Literature Online – ProQuest

Learn more about the power of reading in our post on International Literacy Day.

By Lesley McRobb

 

Image source: Unsplash Álvaro Serrano

Happy Fourth of July Independence Day🎉

Happy Fourth of July Independence Day🎉

Also referred to as Independence Day, the Fourth of July marks the anniversary of the then 13 colonies declaring independence from the British crown. It has a rich history of celebrations throughout the United States.

On July 2nd 1776, the then continental congress voted for independence. Consequently, two days later the 13 colonies adopted the declaration of independence. Thomas Jefferson famously drafted the document. The Fourth of July has been celebrated ever since. Fun fact, as it was the 2nd of July that congress passed the decision on Independence, future President John Adams refused to celebrate American independence on the fourth of July and marked celebrations on the second. He would die fifty years later on July 4th 1826 (History.com).

Celebrations range from family barbecues to street parades. In addition, firework displays are notorious and have been part of celebrations since 1777, with the first reported in Philadelphia. Early celebrations included having mock funerals for King George III, and the firing of muskets and cannons.  These were followed up by a public reading of the declaration of independence (History.com). In 1870, it was recognised by Congress as a federal holiday, although it was not until 1941, that it would be a paid holiday for federal employees. It was in the late 19th century with the rise of leisure time that family get-togethers and barbecues became more common celebrations (History.com)

Whatever you are doing this year have a happy fourth of July Independence Day!

Read about other celebrations on our blog such as St.Patricks Day and Chinese New Year

Want to learn more about American History? Try Librarysearch.napier.ac.uk for all sorts of information. Need to know how to use it? Read our Guide here.

By Maya Green

Photo by Paul Weaver on Unsplash

 

 

 

World Music Day 2022 🎵

World Music Day 2022: Fête de la Musique

Is there anything better than when your favourite song comes on? Whatever grey clouds are there, good music brings a little bit of sunshine. And that’s what World Music Day 2022 🎵 is all about.  An annual celebration that occurs every 21st of June, originating in France.

The first ever World Music Day took place in Paris in 1982, organised by the Minister of Culture for France. Its objective was to promote music by encouraging amateur and professional musicians to perform in the streets and organising free concerts to make more music accessible. Since it first began, over 130 countries have taken part in celebrations, as well as over 1000 cities worldwide.

Why not try out some World music events right here in Edinburgh this summer! Check out what’s on here.

Resources for World Music Day 2022 🎵

The library has a wide range of musical databases that celebrate musical talent which you can find at our LibGuides

Or search for the vast amount of music scores and CDs available through LibrarySearch 

And of course, our Spotify account!

SO why not spend this day wrapped up in music? Listen to all your favourite songs and dance like no one is watching!

By Maya Green

Find out more about what the Library has to offer over the summer here.

Photo by C D-X on Unsplash

Refugee Week 2022

Refugee Week : 20th-26th June 2022

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word refugee originates from two Latin words: “fugere” meaning to flee and “refugium” – a place to flee back to. But specifically, the word refugee was first noted in 1685. It referred to the 50,000 Huguenots, French Protestants who fled religious intolerance in their home country.

There are no identifiable Huguenots today, but that’s the point about refugees – as local, national and global circumstances change, so do the movement of people and the labels we attach to them. Wherever there is war, famine, natural disasters or a clampdown on human rights, there will be refugees.

So, there have been refugees since there have been established human communities around the world, but it wasn’t until 1951 that there was an international standard on how to treat them. The Refugee Convention defined a refugee as someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted.

A refugee’s journey can be long, dangerous and highly publicised, but in fact, most refugees don’t travel far. Most stay in neighbouring countries until it’s safe enough for them to return home. Those who travel the furthest often feel the most alienated and are often least welcome in their host countries.  With this in mind, Refugee Week is a UK-wide festival that celebrates the contributions, creativity and resilience of refugees and people seeking sanctuary.

Refugee Week 2022 this year

This year’s festival runs from 22th-26th June. Its theme is healing – a celebration of community, mutual care and the human ability to start again. It will promote a programme of arts, cultural, sports and educational events alongside media and creative campaigns.

Here at Edinburgh Napier University, we have an amazing project designing refugee housing by Lara Alshawawreh. Check it out here.

In addition, if you want to get involved, please see here: https://refugeeweek.org.uk/

For more local information, get in touch with

https://www.scottishrefugeecouncil.org.uk/

https://www.rst.org.uk

https://www.bikesforrefugees.scot

https://www.scottishactionforrefugees.org

In addition for information available in the library why not use librarysearch.napier.ac.uk

Need help using Librarysearch? Check out our article here.

By Lesley McRobb

Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

Celebrating Pride Month

Celebrating Pride Month

The start of June is upon us which means the start of Pride month. After all, June is the month of pride. Why June you may ask? Well…

The History of Pride 🏳‍🌈🌈🏳‍🌈

Celebrating Pride month in June is to commemorate the Stonewall riots that happened on the 28th of June 1969. New York Police raided the Stonewall inn which was a prominent gay club in Greenwich Village in the early hours of the morning. As police turned violent, and a build up of social discrimination and continuous police harassment grew, the raid became a riot and a protest. Led by Marsha P. Johnson, it lasted for 6 days. It saw large media coverage and spilt out to the streets of Greenwich.   This was the ‘catalyst for gay rights and activism in the United States and the world’ (Source)

Known as ‘Mother of Pride’, it was Brenda Howard who organised the first pride march to commemorate the one year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. This became America’s first ever Pride parade. It was not until the 1990s however that Pride Month became more popular (Source). Bill Clinton became the first President to acknowledge June as Pride Month.

Pride Month is not necessarily recognised internationally. However, it is increasingly becoming more recognised outside the United States.

Avoiding Tokenism 

Here at the Library, we love to celebrate Pride month, but we acknowledge that working towards equality is something that needs to happen all year round. We are working hard to promote and diversify our collections to be inclusive of all people, and to redress the imbalances we find in our collections to become more representative of everyone.

Library Resources

The Library has a wealth of books and articles on the subject. From the history of LGBTQ+ rights to current Legal information to keep you informed. Use LibrarySearch to find what you are looking for, or contact us for help with any of your research needs. 

Here are some items available through the Library to get you started: 

Same-sex, different politics: success and failure in the struggles over gay rights

Lgbt Activism and the Making of Europe A Rainbow Europe  

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people (LGBT) and the criminal justice system

University Support

If you are an LGBTQ+ student you can join Edinburgh Napier’s LGBTQ+ Society or find out more about the student LGBTQ+ community on the Queer Napier site. Staff can join the University’s thriving LGBTQ+ Network or visit our web pages to learn more about becoming an ally.

More Resources here on the Blog

Check out our Diversity Bookshelves to see some of the books we have available.

Or read more articles on Pride, LGBT+ History Month and Alan Turin.

By Maya Green

National Biscuit Day

Today is the day: National Biscuit Day

Since 2014, we have been honouring May 29th as National Biscuit day

Biscuits can be dated back as long as there were baked goods, dating all the way back to Ancient Egypt but perhaps they would have been seen as more dried breads. The sugar trade in the eighteenth century changed and by the nineteenth century, we were seeing McVities, Crawford and Carr began setting up (daysoftheyear.com)

In Britain, we consumed the most biscuits of any other country (ScotsmanFoodandDrink). In fact, Brits eat roughly 52 biscuits per second! Now that’s a lot of biscuits. And now we all want to know what biscuit reigns supreme, the to go, the absolute fave. Well, it’s of course the humble yet delicious chocolate digestive. A third of the British population rank chocolate digestives as their favourites (ScotsmanFoodandDrink). This is followed by the chocolate hobnob then the Jammie Dodger, fourth favourite is the custard crème and in finishing off the top five is shortbread. Do you agree with the top five biscuit list or disagree, what’s your favourite biscuit. And most controversial is a Jaffa Cake a biscuit or a cake? So many questions to ponder about this national biscuit, mull them over with your favourite biscuit.

Read more about biscuits through Librarysearch.napier.ac.uk

 

By Maya Green

 

May the Fourth be with you! Star Wars Day

Star wars day

May the fourth is commonly known around the world by Star Wars fans as Star Wars Day. This is because May the 4th sounds a bit like “May the force”, part of a very famous quote from the film “May the force be with you”.

The Star Wars film franchise is probably one of the biggest, if not the biggest in the world. Created by George Lucas, the first film came out way back in 1977 and has since spanned many other films and TV shows. Furthermore, there’s a wealth of merchandise to be had from costumes to Lego sets.

Want to make some star wars food? Check out some recipes here.

Need some ideas for how to celebrate? Read this article!

Library Resources

Want to watch the films right now? We can help! If you are an Edinburgh Napier University student or staff member then log into Box of Broadcasts (BoB) and you will be able to watch many of the films for free.

Also, check out librarysearch.napier.ac.uk for loads of fascinating items relating to Star Wars! We have a wealth of books, scores and articles.

All that’s left to say is “May the Force/fourth be with you!”

May Day The Beginning of Spring

Springtime

Is there anything that gladdens the heart of the city-dweller more than the glorious pink of cherry- and the wondrous white of apple blossom lining the grimy streets? Personally, I feel my spirits soar every time I wander along an avenue of blossom and turn up my face to the delicate petals raining down like confetti. Laburnum, too, delights with its brief but brilliant burst of yellow. (Okay, so it’s poisonous, but nobody was planning to eat it!) May really must be the most beautiful and optimistic month, as the light stretches and the air starts to warm up after those nippy April mornings.

The History of May Day

Maybe it’s this abundance of light, colour and new growth that inspired our pagan ancestors to celebrate the beginning of the month. They’d elect a May Queen and a Jack-in-the-Green to lead the festivities which included dancing around the maypole (every village had one), painting faces green and dressing up a local person in a caricature of a horse. The fun continued after the Christian church was established until those killjoy C16th Puritans banned maypole dancing as a heathen activity of drunken wickedness (which to be fair, it probably was).

Recent Times

In recent times, May 1st has become synonymous with something much less frivolous and decidedly more serious: work. Labour movements across the world have inspired action since the earliest days of industrialisation, but official commemoration of May 1st as International Workers’ Day began in Chicago when, in 1886, the American Federation of Labor implemented an 8-hour working day as a new standard of fair practice. In 1904 it was adopted around the world, and now May 1st is recognised by many as a workers’ holiday.

Scotland

Closer to home, Beltane is a Gaelic festival of fire that is traditionally celebrated on May 1st to mark the beginning of, um, summer. In Edinburgh, revellers usually make their way up Calton Hill before celebrating en masse. If you want to take part in the organised event, you’ll have to set off the night before.  See https://beltane.org/

You may be familiar with the old proverb “ne’er cast a cloot til the May be oot.” You’d be forgiven for believing that the May in this case refers to the month, but in fact, it specifically refers to the May tree, an old name for hawthorn, that beloved staple of hedgerows across the land that produces a gorgeous white blossom in May. Hawthorn is the only plant in UK vernacular to be named after the month in which it blooms.

We hope you enjoy this Mayday, whether you’re working, strolling through a garden of cherry blossom, dancing around a maypole or warming yourself against a roaring communal fire. Bring on the summer!

By Lesley McRobb

Read more articles on celebrations here on our blog:

St Patricks Day

Chinese New Year

Scottish traditions

« Older posts

© 2022 The Library Blog

Theme by Anders NorénUp ↑

%d bloggers like this: