New books – festivals and ceremonies

Celebrations and festivals mark our progress through each year, and are special times to enjoy with family, or opportunities to indulge our interests and celebrate life. This selection of new books on festivals and ceremonies is full of vibrant colour and joyful celebrations of culture. We hope you enjoy them!

Syndetics book coverAround the world in 500 festivals : the world’s most spectacular celebrations / Steve Daley.
“Around the World in 500 Festivals is a rare book that will fascinate and inspire. A large-format, beautifully illustrated coffee-table volume, it is a photographic exploration of the richness and variety of the worlds most colourful, moving, joyful, and spectacular celebrations. Thousands of festivals, great and small, take place around the world every year. ” (Abridged from Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverPasefika : the Festival of Pacific Arts / Floyd K. Takeuchi.
“Every four years since 1972, the Pacific Islands’ best dancers and cultural practitioners gather to perform. The Festival of Pacific Arts, as this amazing event is known, is a celebration unlike any other held in Oceania. The Festival is a two-week showcase of the finest dancers, singers, carvers and other cultural masters from across the Pacific. This book, the first published about the Festival of Pacific Arts, tells the story of the 10th Festival that was held in American Samoa in mid-2008. More than 2,000 cultural practitioners traveled to Tutuila Island for the 10th Festival of Pacific Arts. Hundreds of visitors from around the world, plus thousands of resident Samoans, gathered on the shores of Pago Pago Harbor to watch performance after performance. This book is the story of that special gathering of the best of the Pacific Islands.” (Fishpond.co.nz)

Syndetics book coverA perfect haze : the illustrated history of the Monterey International Pop Festival / Harvey Kubernik and Kenneth Kubernik ; foreword by Lou Adler ; afterword by Michelle Phillips.
“The sights and sounds of one of the most famous music festivals in history come to life in this extraordinary compilation of photography, memorabilia, and firsthand accounts from the Summer of Love’s biggest event.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverRick Steves’ European Christmas / by Rick Steves and Valerie Griffith.
“Rick Steves, America’s expert on Europe, teams up with co-author Valerie Griffith to explore the rich and fascinating mix of traditions-Christian, pagan, musical, and edible-that led to the Christmas festivities we enjoy today.Rick brings home an authentic, surprising portrait of holiday celebrations in England, Norway, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, and Switzerland. Romans cook up eels, Salzburgers shoot off guns, Germans buy “prune people” at markets, Norwegian kids hope to win marzipan pigs, and Parisians ice-skate on the Eiffel Tower.With thoughtful insights, vibrant photos, and more than a dozen recipes, this book captures the spirit of the season. It’s a delightful way to learn something new-and old-about Christmas.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverLet’s celebrate! : festival poems from around the world / edited by Debjani Chatterjee & Brian D’Arcy ; illustrated by Shirin Adl.Let’s Celebrate!: Festival Poems from Around the World
“Twenty-four festivals are presented through poetry in different forms, some of which may be new to readers. The celebrations presented are a mix of religious and secular, and each one is briefly explained in the back matter. The selections range from classics by Ralph Waldo Emerson and Pablo Neruda to entries by “Anonymous” and the editors of the book. Colorful, mixed-media illustrations” (Abridged from School Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverLighting our world : a year of celebrations / written by Catherine Rondina ; illustrated by Jacqui Oakley.
“From the children’s festival of Tet Trung Thu in Vietnam to the holy month of Ramadan, Rondina and Oakley offer an informative, month-by-month look at global holidays, both religious and secular. A February/March spread highlights Las Fallas, a festival honoring Saint Joseph in Valencia, Spain, as well as the Lenten Carnival in Martinique; a July spread covers independence celebrations in six countries, including Argentina, Belgium, and France. Oakley’s acrylic paintings have a weathered quality that recalls faded murals, while conjuring appropriately festive atmospheres for each occasion. Ages 7-10.” (Publisher Weekly)

Monday 21st January 2013 is Wellington Anniversary Day – but what exactly is this?

Monday 21st January is Wellington Anniversary Day, and there is more to it than just a day off for us Wellingtonians!

If you’re interested in reading or seeing more, come check out our Early Wellington display of books and images on the 2nd floor of the Central Library.

So, what is Wellington Anniversary Day?

Postcard: Wellington Harbour, 1905

  • An anniversary day commemorates the founding of a province or an early settlement event.
  • The first New Zealand Company immigrant ship, the Aurora, arrived 22nd January 1840.
  • The first settlement celebration was held on 22nd January 1841.
  • Wellington Anniversary Day is the Monday that falls closest to the 22nd of January.

Read about the very first Wellington Anniversary celebrations:

Names for Wellington:

Postcard: Petone Esplanade, ca. 1910

  • Te Upoko o te Ika a Māui – The head of Māui’s fish.
  • Te Whanganui a Tara – The great harbour of Tara.
  • The first European settlement, Britannia, was where Petone is now situated.
  • Popular choice for a new name was Durham. In England, Durham’s name comes from the Old English “dun”=hill and the Old Norse “holme”=island.
  • Finally in 1840 the name Wellington was chosen to honour the Duke of Wellington, who was a strong supporter of the New Zealand Company.

Wellington Heritage Trails:

(PDFs of some of these are available on the Wellington City Council website)Postcard: Worser Bay, ca. 1910

Books of interest:Postcard: Oriental Bay, ca. 1905

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!!!

Hanukkah | Festivus | Christmas | New Year

Hanukkah – Saturday 8th December – Sunday 16th December

microsoft clip artHanukkah/Chanukah/Chanukkah/Chanuka/Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday.

Want to know more:

Festivus – Sunday 23rd December

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  • Festivus is a secular holiday seen on Seinfeld.
  • The name “Festivus” has now begun to be used as a general term for any type of December party not related to religious holidays. It has been referred to as “Festivus for the rest of us,” and described as “another way” to celebrate the holiday season without participating in pressure and commercialism.
  • To celebrate one puts out an unadorned aluminum “Festivus pole,” and takes part in the “Airing of Grievances” (consists of lashing out at others and the world about how one has been disappointed in the past year), “Feats of Strength” (a wrestling match and tradition states that Festivus is not over until the head of the household is pinned), and “Festivus Miracles.” (the labelling of easily explainable events as miracles).
  • For more information: festivusbook.com and festivusweb.com

Christmas – Tuesday 25th December

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  • Explore Christmas and find interesting facts, stories and recipes on Wellington City Libraries’ Kids Catalog Web.

Other useful links in our collection to help you celebrate:

New Years Eve – Monday 31st December

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For fabulous food and beverage ideas:

Happy Halloween

Jack O Lanterns

Have some Halloween fun, and celebrate Wednesday 31st October, with help from Wellington City Libraries!

Halloween Ideas:

Halloween Costumes:

Halloween Decorations:

Halloween Food:

Halloween Music:

DVDs for the kids:

DVDs for the big kids:

Ramadan 19th July – 18th August 2012

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is a time of spiritual reflection and worship during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. The dates of Ramadan vary, moving backwards by about eleven days each year depending on the moon.

Muslims believe Ramadan to be the month in which the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Ramadan is thought to establish a link between themselves and God through prayer, charity, good deeds, kindness and helping others. The elderly, the chronically ill, and the mentally ill are exempt from fasting, although the first two groups must endeavor to feed the poor in place of their missed fasting.

Since it is a festival of giving and sharing, Muslims prepare special foods and buy gifts for their family and friends and for giving to the poor and needy who cannot afford it; this can involve buying new clothes, shoes and other items of need.

At the end of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr celebrates the conclusion of the month of dawn-to-sunset fasting. Eid is an Arabic word meaning “festivity”, while Fiṭr means “breaking the fast”.

Want to know more? Here are some useful links and items from our collection:

Syndetics book coverRamadan / Suhaib Hamid Ghazi ; illustrated by Omar Rayyan.
“Describes the celebration of the month of Ramadan by an Islamic family and discusses the meaning and importance of this holiday in the Islamic religion.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe white nights of Ramadan / Maha Addasi ; illustrated by Ned Gannon.
“Noor lives in a country near the Arabian (Persian) Gulf. Shes looking forward to the festival known as Girgian that comes in the middle of the holy month of Ramadan. These middle days are known as the three whites, because they include the day of the full moon and day before and after. Its when children, dressed in traditional clothes, go from house to house collecting treats from their neighbors.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverId-ul-Fitr / Cath Senker ; photography by Chris Fairclough.
“This book introduces the reader to the festival of Id-ul-Fitr and explores how one child and her family celebrate it. The book includes panels to show how people around the world celebrate Id and an Id recipe for you to try yourself.” – (adapted from Global Books In Print summary)

Book CoverIslam in New Zealand : the first mosque : a short history of the New Zealand Muslim Association & the Ponsonby Mosque / by Abdullah Drury.
“Islam is without doubt one of the fastest growing religions in New Zealand and also one of the least understood by the general public. Yet Muslims have been living in this country for over a century – peacefully and conscientiously. New Zealand Muslims have proved it perfectly possible to remain devout and faithful to Islam and at the same time function effectively in a modern Anglo-Saxon Western society The New Zealand Muslim Association is the oldest Islamic institution in this country. The first mosque in New Zealand, and the definitive heart of Islam in this country, was built twenty years ago in 1979 in Ponsonby, central Auckland. It represented the culmination of thirty years hard work and effort on behalf of the immigrants and refugees who were the driving force behind its construction. The building marks the collective turning point from being a group of expatriate migrants to becoming the foundation stone of the New Zealand Muslim community, and stands as a milestone in the history of the wider Muslim community across the land.” – (adapted from Publisher’s summary)

Introduction to Islam [videorecording] / with Bilal Dannoun.
There are many myths and misconceptions portrayed about Islam and Muslims everyday in the media which causes disharmony and fear. A lot of what the media portrays Islam to be is incorrect and against its teachings, although some (who call thermselves Muslims) carry out terrible crimes against humanity. These actions are condemned by Islam. Voice of Islam presents Islam through its television programs, lecture tours, DVDs and other books and publications in a correct manner as a reminder and education for Muslims, and to show non Muslims the correct manner in which we should be acting and practising our religion” – (adapted from DVD booklet summary)

Syndetics book coverThe complete idiot’s guide to understanding Islam / by Yahiya Emerick.
“Yoursquo;re no idiot, of course. You know Islam is an ancient religion with millions of followers and has a profound impact on world affairs. But are you aware of how many facets of modern life were influenced by Islamic inventions and discoveries? Or that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the United States? The Complete Idiotrsquo;s Guidereg; to Understanding Islam takes you back to the origins of this faith and explores its beliefs and practices through the centuries and in the present. In this Complete Idiotrsquo;s Guidereg;, you get: An overview of the major tenets of the Islamic holy book, the Qurrsquo;an, including quotes from the actual text. The life and philosophies of the Prophet Muhammad as enacted in Islamic thought. Religious ceremonies for weddings, births, and funerals, and the celebrations behind the two major holidays, Ramadan and Hajj. Islamic contributions to the arts and sciences, including algebra, chemistry, astronomy, and medicine. Muslim perspective on the Crusades.” – (adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverThe essential message of the Qur’an / Shaykh Fadhlalla Haeri.
“The Essential Message of the Qur’an captures the spiritual significance of the sacred text of Islam and how it inspired countless millions across the ages.” – (adapted from Publiher’s summary)

Syndetics book coverBeing Muslim / Haroon Siddiqui.
“In the wake of 9/11, Islam-bashing bears all the symptoms of racism as it holds up the relatively few fanatics as representative of all 1.3 billion Muslims. That’s the argument of award-winning Canadian journalist Siddiqui, past president of PEN Canada, a writers’ group that is a leading advocate of free speech. His clear, passionate discussion confronts international issues that are in the news now, including recent controversies over cartoon representations of Prophet Muhammad, the debate surrounding the wearing of the hijab (traditional headscarf), and issues of faith and feminism, suicide bombing, and more. While clearly concerned about terrorism and other dangers, Siddiqui attacks the propaganda of collective guilt. Without preaching or political jargon and drawing on his travels and interviews in Muslim countries, he shows that the extremists are being challenged by a new generation of Muslims, and welcomes the current internal reformation. He also asks penetrating questions: for example, Why does the U.S. turn a blind eye to suffocating restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia? Including documented chapter notes and an Essential Reading list, this timely volume in the Groundwork Guide series is sure to spark debate. Like Jane Springer’s Genocide (2006), also part of the series, this is excellent for classroom discussion. –Hazel Rochman Copyright 2006 BooklistFrom Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.” – (adapted from Booklist summary)

Syndetics book coverIslamic art : architecture, painting, calligraphy, ceramics, glass, carpets / Luca Mozzati ; [translation from the Italian, D. Radzinowicz [et al.]].
“This large format volume is notable for its remarkable illustrations, all in color. Most of the photographs are large scale, and although they include many familiar monuments and the usual canon of great monuments, readers will find many surprises, e.g., the striking madrasah and minaret in Khiva, Uzbekistan, from the early 20th century. The photographs are often from unusual points of view, or offer excellent details, and cover material from Spain and Morocco to central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. Although many sources are credited, by far the largest number of photographs are Mozzati’s, and they are very valuable. The subtitle of the book is accurate in that many different media are represented by the works illustrated, but the overwhelming emphasis is on architecture. All photographs are accompanied by descriptive and discursive captions, often lengthy. The book includes introductory essays on general topics that will provide a useful introduction for general readers, for whom this book is clearly intended. Specialists in and teachers of Islamic art will, however, find the photographic record very useful. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty/researchers. L. Nees University of DelawareCopyright American Library Association, used with permission.” – (adapted from CHOICE summary)

Celebrate Matariki!

Matariki 2012

In Pipiri/June each year, the star cluster Matariki (Pleiades) appears in our dawn skies.

The Maori New Year begins with the sighting of the first new moon after the first appearance of Matariki. This year it occurs on 21 Pipiri/June.

Traditionally Matariki marks the end of the harvest and the beginning of the planting season. Today Matariki means celebrating the unique place we live in, and giving respect to the land we live on.

Festivities differ from iwi to iwi but for most New Zealanders, Matariki is a time of remembrance, hospitality and new beginnings.

Matariki is a time for inward reflection and renewal. It is a time to consider the year ahead and make plans to improve our lives and enhance our communities. It is a chance to come together and share knowledge and skills.

There are a number of exciting events and activities happening at our libraries and around the city to celebrate Matariki.

Check out:

From the library’s collection:

February Festivities: Waitangi Day, Wellington’s Chinese New Year Festival, & Valentine’s Day

We’ve had a lot on already this month (history, culture and remembrance on Waitangi Day), and a lot still to come – with cultural fun and food at Wellington’s Chinese New Year Festival this weekend and romance in the air ahead of Valentine’s Day next week!

We’ve collected some facts about this month’s celebrations for you from our collection – have a read!

Waitangi Day – Monday 6th February 2012

Treaty of WaitangiWaitangi Day was observed this year on Monday 6th February. Public holidays are always enjoyable, but it’s important to remember that Waitangi Day is much more than a day off:

  • On the 6th of February 1840, representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Maori chiefs signed the Treaty of Waitangi, what is considered to be New Zealand’s founding document.
  • Since then this has led to debate over exactly what was agreed to at Waitangi. Most Maori chiefs signed the Maori language version of the Treaty – and there are some important differences between the English and Maori versions of the Treaty
  • February 6th was first officially commemorated in 1934, and it has been a public holiday since 1974
  • Prior to 1934, most celebrations of New Zealand’s founding as a colony were marked on 29 January, the date on which William Hobson arrived in the Bay of Islands
  • This day was also known briefly as New Zealand Day

Read more about the Treaty:

Wellington’s Chinese New Year Festival – 11th & 12th February 2012

Chinese New Year LanternChinese New Year fell on January 23rd this year, and to celebrate Wellington will be having a Chinese New Year Festival on the 11th and 12th of February. The se celebrations are brought to you by the Asian Events Trust in partnership with Wellington City Council, and information about events happening over the weekend can be found at: chinesenewyear.co.nz

Some facts for you:

  • Chinese New Year is traditionally a Spring festival, and one of the most important festivities in the lunar calendar
  • Celebrations take place over 15 days
  • 2012 is the Year of the Dragon
  • The most common Chinese phrases for saying “Happy New Year” are “Gong Xi Fa Cai” (Mandarin) and “Gong He Faat Choy” (Cantonese)

Chinese New Year Dragon

Read more about Chinese New Year:

Valentine’s Day – Tuesday 14th February

CupidYes, we’re just about at that time of year when florists and candy stores try to persuade us to purchase gifts for loved ones. But is it all just a commercial gimmick? Every wondered what this lovey dovey day is actually all about? Well look no further, we have some answers. Valentine’s Day…

Read more about Valentine’s Day:

Monday 23rd January 2012 is Wellington Anniversary Day – but what exactly is this day about?

Monday 23rd January is Wellington Anniversary Day, and there is more to it than  just a day off for us Wellingtonians!

If you’re interested in reading or seeing more, come check out our Early Wellington display of books and images on the 2nd floor of the Central Library.

So, what is Wellington Anniversary Day?

Postcard: Wellington Harbour, 1905

  • An anniversary day commemorates the founding of a province or an early settlement event.
  • The first New Zealand Company immigrant ship, the Aurora, arrived 22nd January 1840.
  • The first settlement celebration was held on 22nd January 1841.
  • Wellington Anniversary Day is the Monday that falls closest to the 22nd of January.

Read about the very first Wellington Anniversary celebrations:

Names for Wellington:

Postcard: Petone Esplanade, ca. 1910

  • Te Upoko o te Ika a Māui – The head of Māui’s fish.
  • Te Whanganui a Tara – The great harbour of Tara.
  • The first European settlement, Britannia, was where Petone is now situated.
  • Popular choice for a new name was Durham. In England, Durham’s name comes from the Old English “dun”=hill and the Old Norse “holme”=island.
  • Finally in 1840 the name Wellington was chosen to honour the Duke of Wellington, who was a strong supporter of the New Zealand Company.

Wellington Heritage Trails:

(PDFs of some of these are available on the Wellington City Council website)Postcard: Worser Bay, ca. 1910

Books of interest:Postcard: Oriental Bay, ca. 1905