Edinburgh Napier University

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New Year Traditions from Around the World

World New Year Traditions

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

Spanish Christmas Traditions

A Spanish-style Traditional Christmas by Emi Pastor

Christmas in Spain is not so very different from Christmas elsewhere, but there are one or two traditions that may sound slightly exotic to Scottish ears, and I’ll set them out here.

First of all, our festive period is longer, running from the 22nd December until the 7th of January. We celebrate the end of Christmas with presents brought from faraway lands by the Three Wise Men (traditionally marked by the Epiphany). This, of course, makes the youngest members of the family very merry, but it pleases the grownups too. Traditionally Santa Claus has never been recognised in Spain, but nowadays that is changing, and like the reyes mago” (3 wise men), he now sometimes brings presents too.

The Spanish Lottery

A more recent, and much more secular tradition, is El Gordo, the Spanish Christmas Lottery. This, too, is celebrated on the 22nd of December. It’s the most popular draw of the year in Spain and in fact, is considered the biggest worldwide since it was first celebrated in 1812. Winning El Gordo’s jackpot is one of the best Spanish Christmas presents you could hope for.

As in many other parts of the world, Christmas trees, fancy city lights, and splashes of red, green, and white decorations make their appearance during the festive period. However, something quite particular we have is the Portal de Belén: tiny models of Bethlehem to represent the Nativity, with many accompanying structures such as the desert, town, angel, shepherds and farm animals.

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Nexis Database: A quick Introduction to using Nexis

Nexis Logo Image

Welcome to Nexis

We know that Nexis is nobody’s favourite database.  We know it can be tricky to navigate it. Saying that, we still like it because it contains more than 40,000 online news and business sources with access to newspapers, trade journals and company market information from around the world. Many of these publications are normally restricted by paywalls. It is, in fact, an academic treasure trove.

When you search with LibrarySearch, articles available on Nexis will appear and you can follow the links through to the database. Alternatively you can also access it through LibrarySearch using the databases tab and searching for “Nexis”

Searching

So far, so good. But maybe you want to do some browsing within Nexis and aren’t sure where to start. You can use the database’s own search form tips, which you can find here – it’s full of advice on setting up folders, search histories and alerts.

In addition to this, we’ve compiled our own set of helpful hints for finding newspaper articles. You can find them here

Happy searching and don’t forget to login into Librarysearch before you start searching!

By Lesley McRobb

Interested in other databases? Try learning more about IBISworld here

Book Week Scotland (15th- 21st November 2021)

book week scotland poster

As the nights draw in and winter approaches you might be thinking about the pleasure of cosying up on the sofa with a good book and, if you’re wondering what to read next, look no further!

Book Week Scotland is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year and between 15th and 21st of November, there are events taking place across the country to celebrate books and the joy of reading. This annual celebration is organised by the Scottish Book Trust (SBT) working in partnership with libraries and organisations throughout Scotland. They organise digital or in-person events including workshops, author readings, film showings or the spoken word, to reach a wide range of audiences across all age groups. Check the website for events taking place online or near you.

Every year, the SBT hosts Your Stories, a writing project which aims to encourage members of the public to reflect upon and share aspects of their lives inspired by a theme. The theme this year was Celebration. Anyone can submit a piece of writing and each story submitted is published on the website. A selection of these stories has been published in a book, Celebration, which is freely available in venues up and down the country during Book Week Scotland. The book is also available as a PDF or to download from the SBT website. If you’ve ever considered writing but haven’t known where to begin, the SBT website provides a range of resources to help you get started.

We are pleased to let you know there will be copies of Celebration available (for free!) to collect in all three Edinburgh Napier University Libraries and in the three student residences during Book Week Scotland (while stocks last). Pick up your copy before it’s too late!

Enjoy Book Week Scotland; whether you go to an event, pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read for so long, or simply take a moment to reflect on a celebration meaningful to you.

You can join Book Week Scotland on Facebook at facebook.com/BookWeekScotland

You can follow Book Week Scotland’s Twitter updates at twitter.com/BookWeekScot, and using the hashtag #BookWeekScotland

scottishbooktrust.com

 

By Sarah Jeffcott

Remembrance Day and The Poppy

World War One, Remembrance Day and The Poppy

The battles of the First World War (WWI) devastated the countryside of Western Europe. One of the plants that survived the churned-up battlefields was the poppy. As the soldiers saw scarlet poppies bloom through the terrible destruction, they were encouraged to see that life could recover. One soldier, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was inspired to write the poem, In Flanders Fields, in the spring of 1915. 

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky 

The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie, 

 In Flanders fields

Take up our quarrel with the foe: 

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Subsequently, Since WW1 the poppy has become the universal emblem of remembrance, symbolising the sacrifices that soldiers in past wars made for us. 

The Selling of Poppies

In the United Kingdom, artificial poppies are sold by the Royal British Legion in the run-up to 11th November (Poppy Day). Importantly this is when the Armistice (an agreement to end the fighting) began at 11am on 11th November 1918. Furthermore, sales from the poppies go to providing financial, social and emotional support to British Armed Forces serving soldiers, former soldiers and their dependents. This year is the centenary of the UK Poppy Appeal. 

The original Poppy Days were created by Madame Guerin to raise funds for the French widows and orphans of the War. In 1921 she took samples of her artificial poppies to the Royal British Legion and proposed an Inter-Allied Poppy Day during which all WW1 allied countries use artificial poppies as an emblem of remembrance.

The poppies would be made by French widows and orphans and raise funds for the families of the fallen as well as survivors of the conflict. Although the idea was initially not well received by the British public, the WW1 British Army commander Earl Haig was keen, and after that, when the Royal British Legion held its first Poppy Day on 11th November 1921, it was a great success. Those first poppies were made in France, but from 1922 British veterans made the poppies at the Richmond factory which now employs 50 ex-servicemen all year round. In 1926 Lady Haig’s Poppy Factory in Edinburgh was established to produce poppies for Scotland. Over 5 million Scottish poppies are made by hand each year. 

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Daylight Savings: The clocks are going back

How time flies! It’s Daylight savings once again. It hardly seems any time since we were reminding you to put your clocks forward for British Summer Time and now it is time to put them back again. We had a better summer than usual with lots of warm, sunny weather and we hope you enjoyed it.

Clocks go back by one hour at 2am on 31st October and that means shorter days and longer nights. This could be the perfect time to take up a new interest such as baking, knitting or yoga and you will find lots of useful tutorials on YouTube. You can also find a good variety of programmes to watch on the Box of Broadcasts database which can be accessed through Library Search.

You may want to join Edinburgh libraries to borrow or download books and catch up on some of the great ones available and the link to the main webpage is here.

Although it’s colder and darker there is still plenty to do such as winter walks and with covid restrictions eased there are lots of museums and galleries to visit and theatres are open for performances too. For more ideas read our article Edinburgh in the Autumn.

By Vivienne Hamilton

 

 

Ghost Stories: A spooky tale of haunted Campuses

Creepy Campuses

Craiglockhart:

Many old buildings have ghost stories associated with them and Edinburgh Napier campuses are no exception. Of course, no one can prove if the sightings are genuine, but here are a few of the stories we have heard from staff….

From 1920 until 1986 Craiglockhart campus used to be a training college for Catholic teachers run by nuns. There have been many reports of a nun being seen around the old part of the campus and in the library which used to be a swimming pool. Apparently, she has been seen walking through a wall near the Rivers Suite and a joiner saw her on one of the upper floors. Many staff members claim to have had a feeling that someone is behind them when they are walking around the old building.

Cleaners say that taps in the toilets along from the library mysteriously switch themselves on and one of them has often spotted an old woman walking along the corridor towards the Hydra café early in the mornings before the campus is open for general access.

One morning library staff came in to find a bookshelf that had been hammered into place had been tipped up at one end and the books were in a heap on the floor. On another occasion, an interior glass panel was completely smashed when staff arrived for work. The panel had been intact when security had closed the campus the previous evening. When shelving books one evening a member of staff heard a thud behind them. A large book that had been lying flat on a shelf and not overhanging had mysteriously landed on the floor.

Craighouse

Our former campus at Craighouse is now a housing development, but it used to be the home of Edinburgh Napier from 1996 to 2011. It was built as a private residence around 1565. In the 1880s it was described as “a weird-looking mansion, alleged to be ghost-haunted” in Cassell’s Old and New Edinburgh. It was a psychiatric hospital from then until the early 1990s when it was sold to Edinburgh Napier. Some of the staff who used to work there claim to have smelled cigar smoke although smoking was prohibited in the building. There were also reports of a piano being played and a baby crying in an attic room. Cleaning staff caught a glimpse of a man wearing a long leather coat with slicked back long hair in the toilets. Furthermore, there were also rumours of underground tunnels leading from secret entrances.

Sighthill

Not to be outdone by Craiglockhart, Sighthill briefly had its own ghost in 2018

Click on the following link to view the full video:

https://twitter.com/i/status/1057546465587924992

We wish you all a Happy Halloween and hope we haven’t spooked you!

Have any ghost stories of your own? Share them in the comments or tag us through social media with Twitter: @ednaplib or Instagram @ENULibrary

By Vivienne Hamilton

October Graduations : Information you should know

Graduation heart picture

You’ve reached the end of your course, you’ve passed your exams and so on to Graduation!

Show your Love for the Library by clearing your library record before you leave!  Unsure whether your record is clear? Sign into LibrarySearch and select Library Card, you’ll find any loans and fines detailed here.

It’s very easy to return items, just scan them through our self-service kiosks and pop them into the returns box.  Laptops can be returned to a Lapsafe or Library Help Desk.   If you’ve fines to clear these can be paid through LibrarySearch or appealed if there have been extenuating circumstances.  You can also post books back to us if that’s easier for you.  Here are our contact details if you need to get in touch library@napier.ac.uk or 0131 455 3500.

Anyway, we’d just like to say we’re sorry to see you go and would like to wish you all the very best with your future career or studies!

Black History Month

Black history month banner 2021

Black History Month 2021 runs throughout October and is a celebration of the often-overlooked contributions made by Black people to our shared history. It allows us to celebrate Black people and Black culture. This year the campaign is called “Proud to Be” and encourages Black and Brown people to share what they are “proud to be.”  

Here at the Library, we understand the importance not just of Black History month but also of continued action to tackle racism, reclaim Black history, and ensure Black history is represented and celebrated all year round. We are working hard to grow our collections so that they become more inclusive and diverse. 

Black history Month Image

What we are doing 

We have compiled two fantastic reading lists for you to enjoy filled with books, eBooks, films, and articles you can access not just this month but all year round. 

Links here: 

Black History 365 

Black History, Voices, and Innovation 

 Don’t forget you can use LibrarySearch to find even more sources, just log in and start searching. There is a useful guide available here 

Wear Red Day Icon

Wear Red Day

We will also be supporting Wear Red day on October 22nd – Show Racism the Red Card – Wear red day is a National Day of Action encouraging schools, businesses, and individuals to wear red and donate £1 to help fund anti-racism.

 

Displays

We will have displays on all our campuses, full of information and celebration of Black History and Culture, so keep an eye out when you visit us in person.

 

Walking Tour

The University group BAMEish will be running Black History Walking Tours with Lisa Willams. These will be running Thursday 14 October & Thursday 4 November.

Book here: Black History Walking Tour Eventbrite

Here are some useful Websites for you to look at:

There is also a brilliant reading list of books by CILIP which you can check out online here

There are some amazing talks from the British Library throughout October, which you can find here

Check out the official Black History Month site here

More Information on Black History in Scotland can be found here

Finally here is a link to what’s going on in Scotland this coming month.

 

Also, don’t forget to follow us on social media to see more of our Black History Month material

Instagram Twitter

You can read last year’s Black History Month post here.

 

 

Meet your Health and Social Care Librarian: Maria King

Introducing the Subject Librarian for the School of Health and Social Care, Maria King

Photo_of_Maria_King

I joined Edinburgh Napier in May and have worked in similar roles previously supporting health students at both Coventry University and The University of Salford and I’m looking forward to the move up to Edinburgh. I particularly enjoy the teaching and information literacy support aspects of the role.

I have an interest in punk pedagogy, a critical approach to teaching and learning which focuses on questioning and challenging dominant discourses. This influences my practice by increasing my reflection and improvement of my own practice, increasing flexibility of opportunities for engagement in learning, encouraging criticality and ownership of learning in students, and challenging practices of librarianship that dimmish under-represented voices and groups.

My other main area of interest and expertise is in inclusive teaching practices, specifically in relation to supporting neurodivergent students. I have previously delivered training support to other teaching staff to help them improve their own practices for supporting neurodivergent students. I am neurodivergent myself so bring lived experience to this area.

In my personal life, I enjoy discovering new restaurants, craft beer, quiz shows and pub quizzes, and reading – particularly crime! I am looking forward to exploring more of Scotland and increasing my step count!

Find out more information on the resources available in this subject area, and Maria’s contact details here.

You can access the Health and Social Care Libguides on the Library website. This Libguide will direct you to the most useful search tools for finding research-based literature/evidence, academic sources, grey literature, and reliable health statistics, and show you how to get the best out of these tools for your studies and professional practice.

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