Matariki book cover

Life in colour: Recent festivals & ceremonies books

In every corner of the world you are bound to come across a celebration unique to that culture. From music festivals to Mardi Gras to Matariki, you can learn so much about the world in this book list below.


50 festivals to blow your mind / Ryan, Kalya
“There’s something about festivals, be it a giant, joyous party or a respectful honouring of tradition; a seemingly bizarre adherence to ritual or a celebration of a quirky obsession; it’s a uniquely human thing to be involved in. We like to get together to dance, sing, eat, laugh, drink, dress up, light fires, take our clothes off, throw tomatoes at each other, roll around in mud–just about anything really, but we seem to like doing it in really large groups with bags and bags of enthusiasm. They take our desire to have a good time with our friends to a global level.” (Catalogue)

Half a million strong : crowds and power from Woodstock to Coachella / Arnold, Gina
“From baby boomers to millennials, attending a big music festival has basically become a cultural rite of passage in America. In Half a Million Strong, music writer and scholar Gina Arnold explores the history of large music festivals in America and examines their impact on American culture. Studying literature, films, journalism, and other archival detritus of the counter cultural era, Arnold looks closely at a number of large and well-known festivals, including the Newport Folk Festival, Woodstock, Altamont, Wattstax, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and others to map their cultural significance in the American experience.” (Catalogue)

Matariki : te whetū tapu o te tau / Matamua, Rangi
“In midwinter, Matariki rises in the pre-dawn sky, and its observation is celebrated with incantations on hilltops at dawn, balls, exhibitions, dinners and a vast number of events. The Matariki tradition has been re-established, and its regeneration coincides with a growing interest in Māori astronomy. Still, there remain some unanswered questions about how Matariki was traditionally observed. What is Matariki? Why did Māori observe Matariki? How did Māori traditionally celebrate Matariki? When and how should Matariki be celebrated? This book seeks answers to these questions and explores what Matariki was in a traditional sense so it can be understood and clebrated in our modern society.” (Catalogue)

New Orleans / Karlin, Adam
“Features sections on Mardi Gras, Jazz Fest and other NOLA festivals; Showcases the best of New Orleans, Jackson Square, Bourbon Street, Audubon Zoological Gardens, and Lafayette Cemetery No 1.” (Catalogue)

Harry & Meghan : the royal wedding book / Sadat, Halima
“Experience the heartwarming tale of how the dashing playboy prince fell in love with the beautiful American actress. Meghan Markle becomes the second American and the first mixed-race person to marry into the royal family, bringing with her a breath of fresh air as the House of Windsor navigates the twenty-first century. This deluxe souvenir celebrates their truly modern love story and their special day, from their wildly different childhoods and remarkable romance to the key events preceding the wedding, the titles bestowed by the Queen, the bride’s gorgeous gown, and the grand nuptials with their pomp, pageantry, and enchantment.” (Catalogue)