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The Ethiopia Timkat Festival

The Timkat Festival

Christmas is a distant memory for most of us, but for Ethiopians, Christmas is a whole season that’s just coming to an end now. Ethiopia was one of the first countries in the world to adopt Christianity, and as such it adheres to the ancient traditions that sit at the heart of its Orthodox Tewahedo Church. Timkat, celebrated every year on the 19th of January, is one of those traditions, possibly the most important in the Church’s calendar.

The Amharic word timkat means “baptism”, and the festival marks the baptism of Christ in the River Jordan.

Preparations

Timkat is a huge deal and a seriously religious festival. Preparations for this spectacular event, possibly one of the biggest and most colourful on the African continent, begin on the 18th, when “tabots” – models of the  Ark of the Covenant – are wrapped in fine cloths and carried on the heads of priests down to the river or other place of worship. Local people don white shawls – Ethiopians wear white when they go to church – and follow the procession.

The Festival

Mass starts in the early hours of the 19th and continues for hours. When Mass is over, the water is blessed and the congregants take to the rivers, submerging themselves in a re-enactment of Christ’s baptism. Of course, it’s a happy occasion and that means the celebrations go on all day and are accompanied by feasting and music.  As well as eating their favourite Timkat food, Ethiopians celebrate important occasions with elaborate coffee ceremonies.

On the 20th, the tabots are carried back to the churches in another procession that marks the end of the festival.

One of the best places to observe Timkat is the town of Gondar, home to the 17th century castle built by King Fasilides. In the grounds of the castle is a huge open-air bath. The bath is usually empty, but during Timkat it’s filled with water and the locals dive in. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to visit Ethiopia over the festive season. I missed Timkat by a couple of weeks. When I visited King Fasilides castle it was empty. Next time I go, I’m definitely going for Timkat, and I’m taking my swimming costume.

Want to learn more about other traditions from around the world? Read our article here.

By Lesley McRobb

Library Welcome Week

welcome sign outside library

Welcome to the Library!

Hello and a very warm welcome to all students joining us this trimester from all of us in the Library. We wish you all the best with your studies and look forward to meeting many of you soon.

Whether you are on campus or studying online, if you are looking for information on how to use the Library services the Introduction to Computing and Library Services module on Moodle is an excellent starting point.

Introductory Sessions

We will be holding quick and friendly online introductory sessions to both the Physical Library and the Online Library during the first few weeks of the trimester. You can sign up for these and many other library skills sessions using the Training and Events Calendar.

Information on Library opening times, how to access or borrow the resources you need for your studies, accessing reading lists, and many more library services can be found on the Library webpages. If you need any further support, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 0131 455 3500 or email us at library@napier.ac.uk . We are here to help you!

Keep up to date on all the latest news from the Library on Instagram and Twitter.

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

Support and Wellbeing Over The Exam Period

During exam time, it’s important to look after yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. The library is here to support you and your wellbeing over the exam period.

Relaxation Spaces

Each campus library has a relaxation space where you can take a break and relax on comfy furniture or try a mindful activity like colouring or doing a jigsaw puzzle. Check out our virtual relaxation space here on the Library Blog for some excellent wellbeing resources.

Shelf Help

We also have Shelf Help which is a collection of resources aimed at supporting your wellbeing. There are print and ebooks, tv shows, podcasts and more which we’ve organised into themes. You can find resources to help tackle stress, insomnia, anxiety and low self-esteem as well as cookery books to help you eat well on a budget and ways to deal with procrastination and increase your productivity.

Spotify

If you are looking for some relaxing music to listen to while you study, the Library has some Spotify playlists for you here.

Get Outside

One of the best things you can do is to get outside and have a walk in the fresh air. Although don’t forget to wrap up warm in the cold Scottish winter. Nature is proven to help us feel better. Read more on this with our article on “thriving in nature

Contact

Library opening hours can be found here You can also contact the library 24/7 by phone and email on 0131 455 3500 and library@napier.ac.uk

The university is here to support your wellbeing and you can find out more about the services they offer here

By Julie McGregor

International Games Week 2021-coming to a campus library near you!

International Games Week logo

International Games Week 2021-coming to a campus library near you!

22nd November – 28th November

Do you like playing games?  Would you like the chance to win an Amazon voucher?

Well, you’ll be pleased to hear that for the 3rd year running the Library is participating in International Games Week, this time with fantastic prizes!  Furthermore we’re sure you are going to have some fun with the games we’ve created

You’ll find links to the activities where prizes are on offer below.

Crossword puzzle

https://puzzel.org/en/crossword/play?p=-MLNhjbHtSqbRO5e_V7F

Jigsaw puzzle

https://www.jigsawplanet.com/?rc=play&pid=28a27c52ebad

Wordsearch

https://thewordsearch.com/puzzle/1601428/edinburgh-napier-library

How to enter

Just take a screenshot of your completed activity and email it to library@napier.ac.uk from your Edinburgh Napier email address.  Alternatively, pick up a paper entry for the Crossword and the Wordsearch at any of our campus libraries.  All entries will be entered into a prize draw to win an Amazon voucher!  The closing date for entries is 30th November 2021.

Good Luck everyone!

Find out more by following us on Twitter @EdNapLib and Instagram @enu_library

Get more ideas for relaxing here

by Cathryn Buckham

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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Bonfire Night and The Gunpowder Plot

Fireworks bonfire night Edinburgh Castle

According to market research Company Mintel, in 2018 UK consumers spent £316m celebrating the event variously called, `Bonfire Night’, ‘Fireworks Night’ or `Guy Fawkes Night’. The majority of that money literally went up in smoke, having been spent on fireworks and bonfires. Fireworks displays were recorded as the most popular way of marking the night, with up to 38% of the population attending some form of event. 

The Gunpowder Plot

This peculiarly British annual entertainment can be traced directly to the aftermath of a 17th Century religious and political event. The Gunpowder Plot was a failed conspiracy by a group of English Catholics. Led by Robert Catesby, they planned to blow up the Protestant King James, and his government, at the State Opening of Parliament on November 6th 1605. (Catesby had been involved in a previously failed rebellion against Queen Elizabeth from which he extricated himself only at the cost in today’s money of £6 million.) 

This was to be the prelude to a revolt that would replace James with a Catholic head of state. Ending the persecution suffered by many Catholics following the split with the Roman Church over half a century previously. 

Guy Fawkes

Though we now principally associate the name of Guy Fawkes with the plot, he was a minor player in the conspiracy. He was, however, literally left holding ‘the baby’ or in this case 36 barrels of gunpowder when, following an anonymous tip-off, the authorities searched the cellars of the Palace of Westminster and discovered the explosive cache. 

This ‘search’ continues today before every State Opening of Parliament, albeit ceremonially, with the searchers, the Yeoman of the Guard, being rewarded with a glass of port.  

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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!

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