Chinese New Year 2021: Year of the Ox

Chinese New Year 2021 will fall on FridayFebruary 12th, 2021. The Chinese New Year animal sign is the Ox. 

What is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year is the most important festival in the Chinese calendar. Chinese New Year, also called Lunar New Year, annual 15-day festival in China and Chinese communities around the world that begins with the new moon. 

When is Chinese New Year?

Chinese New Year occurs on Friday, February 12, 2021, in many of the countries that celebrate it. Wellington’s Chinese New Year celebrations will take place on the weekend of 13-14 February.

For more information on what events are on, check out the Chinese New Year website and Facebook page.

How can you celebrate?

  • Create decorations to help join in the festive spirit.
  • Chow down on festive treats.
  • Watch the fireworks and traditional dancing.
  • Spending time with loved ones.
  • Giving red envelopes to kids.

Did you know: Chinese people love the colour red. The colour red is regarded as the symbol of energy, happiness and good luck. Sending red envelopes is a way to send good wishes and luck (as well as money).

For more more craft ideas and recipes for festive treats, click on this link.

Where can I find information about Chinese New Year?

  • ManyAnswers has a page dedicated to websites, resources and ways to search for information about Chinese New Year.
  • NZ History has an amazing page dedicated to Chinese New Year.
  • Kids World Travel guide has an amazing page dedicated to Chinese New Year.
  • Also check out these amazing books!

image courtesy of syndeticsChinese New Year.

This book explores the festival of Chinese New Year and the story behind it and features eight simple origami projects for your own festive fun! The book shows how people around the world celebrate Chinese New Year and what the Chinese calendar and the animals of the zodiac are. Attractively designed, its simple text and wonderful full-colour photos make this an essential book for children celebrating or learning about the festival. 

image courtesy of syndeticsChinese New Year : a celebration for everyone.

Part of the nonfiction Orca Origins series, Chinese New Year is illustrated with color photographs throughout. Readers will learn how a simple gathering of family and friends grew into a weeklong, worldwide festival.

 image courtesy of syndeticsChinese New Year.

Learn about the diverse and vibrant festivals that are celebrated around the world. This series encourages children to consider religious beliefs and cultural practices via easy to read text and informative, full color images.

image courtesy of syndeticsWinnie and Wilbur at Chinese New Year.

Winnie and Wilbur are having a Chinese New Year party! Winnie’s magic brings sparkle and spectacle to the occasion but when Wilbur goes missing just before it’s time for the fireworks, where can he be? Includes an audio CD with an entertaining narrated version of the story including music and sound effects.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe runaway wok : a Chinese New Year tale.

On Chinese New Year’s Eve, a poor man who works for the richest businessman in Beijing sends his son to market to trade their last few eggs for a bag of rice, but instead he brings home an empty–but magic–wok that changes their fortunes forever. Includes information about Chinese New Year and a recipe for fried rice.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe little pigs and the sweet rice cakes : a story told in English and Chinese.

“Told in a bilingual Chinese and English edition, this is the story of three little pigs whose appetites initially get the better of them. In a shared dream, they met an old man who tells them to deliver sweet rice cakes to him a week before New Year’s Eve. The next morning, they see some sweet rice cakes on their kitchen table. The three little pigs completely forget the old man and eat every bit of them. When their mother comes home, she is very angry to discover all the cakes gone. Seeing their mother unhappy, the three little pigs help her make more delicious sweet rice cakes. When there is only a week left before Chinese New Year’s Eve, their mother lays the sweet rice cakes in front of the portrait of the Kitchen God and prays for the peace for the family. On seeing the portrait, the three little pigs realize that the old man in their dreams is actually the Kitchen God!”–Provided by publisher

Solstice and Yule: The Grandfathers of Christmas

Everyone knows the story of Christmas, but actually celebrations of this time of year go back thousands of years into the past. Two cultures, the Celts and the Norse each contribute to some of the world’s original festive celebrations at the Christmas time of year.

Two drawings of the Oak king and the Holly king.

The Oak and Holly Kings of the Celts. Image © Anne Stokes 2020.

The Celts celebrated the Midwinter Solstice (and so do the Zuñi and Hopi peoples of America), whereas uniquely the Celts feature the Green King which was even used in the later Medieval Period, despite the greater popularity of Christianity.

It centred around the dawning of the new solstice, when the sun would return from the darkness during Winter and the use of two figures namely the Holly King and the Oak King. These two deities would battle one another, triumphing for six months of the year to rule over the seasons until the next fight (in which the victorious king would then reign). This would be celebrated at Midwinter (and Midsummer) when the respective king for the season was at the peak of their powers and thus claim victory over the other.

The Druids of Britain would use holly as a sacred symbol of life during the dark Winters, and offered it as a blessing (BBC, 2006).

Image of the Norse God Odin riding Sleipnir during the Wild Hunt

The God Odin and Sleipnir during the Wild Hunt.

The Norse would celebrate the Wild Hunt, where the God Odin (or the All-Father) would hunt down trolls and other creatures as he gave gifts to children across settlements during Mid-Winter.

The winters in Northern Europe were dark and foreboding, and so it lent itself to the idea that Odin and his gang would ride across the winds, amid much howling and shrieking of the trolls and other creatures as they were hunted down by the party. Along the way, Odin – similar to and pre-dating Santa Claus – would send little gifts to the children he passed through the villages and towns during the Viking Age.

Odin could be seen riding on the winds, with his horse Sleipnir, the eight-legged child of the God Loki. He was the fastest and strongest horse in the world. Every year when the Midwinter sun came over the lands, it was said to be Odin and his party hunting down trolls and other nasty creatures. On this night in particular, Odin would leave gifts out for the children, and they in turn would leave a small parcel of food for Odin and of course a carrot or bits of hay for the horse Sleipnir.


If you’re browsing the shelves at your library for books on the Celts and the Norse, you can use the Dewey Decimal system to help you find the right book. Dewey Decimal numbers are magical numbers that help us organise which books go where. Here are some useful numbers for this topic:

And here are some of our favourite books in the collection about the Celts and the Norse:

Celts / Newland, Sonya
“Who were the Celts and who were their leaders? Why did they come to the British Isles and how did they live? Explore this ancient civilisation to understand how prehistoric people have influenced the way we live today. Discover the artefacts that give evidence of their way of life, and how historians have pieced together the evidence of their lives. Learn about the homes and communities that they lived in, the food that they ate, how they travelled and worshipped, and the influence of the Romans on their society.” (Adapted from Catalogue)

Myths and civilization of the Celts / Martell, Hazel
Myths and Civilization of the Celts focuses on life during the Iron Age period when the Celts dominated much of Europe before the rise of the Roman Empire. The book looks at their way of life, their arts and crafts, trade and transport, religion, food and entertainment. It also includes a map of the Celtic tribes of Europe. Using double-page spreads, Celtic myths are retold & followed by historical & cultural background material.” (Catalogue)

Norse myths and legends / Ganeri, Anita
“The world’s myths are filled with characters, creatures, and stories that have fascinated people for thousands of years. This series mixes dramatic retellings and non-fiction information to give a full picture of a culture’s myths.” (Catalogue)

Illustrated Norse myths / Frith, Alex
“A brand-new collection of Viking myths that tell the story of the Norse gods from creation to the story of how the world will end, including Odin’s quest for wisdom, the battles of Thor the thunder god, and the tale of Sigurd the Dragonslayer and the curs A collection of Viking myths that tell the story of the Norse gods from creation to the story of how the world will end, including Odin’s quest for wisdom, and the battles of Thor the thunder god.” (Catalogue)

Tālofa Lava! Celebrate Samoa Language Week 2020!

Tālofa Lava! Samoa Language Week will be celebrated this year from Sunday, 24 May 2020 until Saturday, 30 May 2020. The event aims to raise awareness of the Samoan language, celebrate Samoan culture in New Zealand and around the world, and promote the use of Samoan language in schools, at work and at home. 
This year’s theme is “Tapena sou ōso mo lau malaga” — “Prepare yourself a gift for your travels”.

image courtesy of ministry of peoples pacific

For more information, on events and ideas on how to celebrate, visit the following websites:

Also you can visit your local library and borrow some amazing books such as:

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Samoan picture dictionary.

“Contains over 1000 commonly used words, and words needing further explanation are given in English and Samoan sentences to aid comprehension. Word lists include parts of the body, telling the time, colours, numbers, days of the week and months of the year”–Publisher information.

image courtesy of syndeticsFirst readers in Samoan.

“A set of ten readers in āamoan for first learners of Sāmoan”–Publisher information.

image courtesy of syndeticsTasi, lua, tolu, fa! : counting in Samoan.

Simple text and illustrations introduce the numbers 1 to 15 in the Sāmoan language. Suggested level: junior.

image courtesy of syndeticsThe Samoan picture dictionary.

The Samoan Picture Dictionary is an excellent resource for people beginning to speak or write Samoan. It contains over 1000 commonly used words, and words needing further explanation are given in English and Sāmoan sentences to aid comprehension.

image courtesy of syndeticsLittle kiddy Sāmoan.

This book packs in a lot of common words and phrases. It is a great resource for anybody wanting to learn Sāmoan.

Thank you and Happy Samoan Language week!

Faafetai and fiafia samoa gagana vaiaso!

Family Lockdown Challenge: Celebrate Star Wars Day at Home!

IMAGE COURTESY OF https://www.starwars.com/Attention all Jedi, Bounty Hunters and Rebels! Star Wars Day is happening again on May the Fourth, which is observed and celebrated by fans of the Star Wars franchise. Despite Level 3 restrictions, there are still ways you can celebrate Star Wars Day in the comfort of your own home… and bubbles.

Celebrate Star Wars Day at home.

Star Wars has a website dedicated to information, activities and events about Star Wars Day. Why not dress up as your favourite Star Wars character, cook and craft up a storm all in the comfort of your own home. For more ideas on how to celebrate at home, have a look at 5 ways to celebrate Star Wars Day at home.

Borrow Star Wars books from our ebook collection.

Borrow ebooks all related to anything and everything from the Star Wars universe! Check out our amazing collection on Overdrive Kids.

image courtesy of syndetics

image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of syndetics
Listen to your favorite Star Wars stories read by your favourite actors.

Watch Rey (Daisy Ridley)  read “Star Wars: BB-8 On The Run,” and “Star Wars: Chewie & The Porgs,” read by Joonas Suotamo. You can also borrow “Star Wars: BB-8 On The Run,” from Overdrive Kids.



Enjoy!… and may the fourth be with you!

Family Lockdown Challenge: Support New Zealand Music Month 2020.

New Zealand Music Month is back again and is in its 20th year marks 20 years of celebrating and supporting the New Zealand Music industry. The theme for 2020’s NZ Music Month is: Support local. Stream local. Follow local. Buy local.

This year New Zealand Music month will be celebrated differently. Under Level 3 restrictions, there will be no live events in our favorite music venues, including the library. But have no fear, you can still celebrate NZ Music month and support the NZ music industry in the comfort of your own home… and bubbles.


image courtesy of https://www.nzmusicmonth.co.nz/

What is New Zealand Music Month?

May is New Zealand Music Month, which celebrates music from New Zealand, and the people who make it.

How can I celebrate this year under Level 3 nationwide lockdown? 

The NZ Music Month schedule is packed with virtual events, awards, radio specials, online seminars and promotions. Check out the events page for more information.

You can also support your librarians, many of whom also moonlight as musicians and performers. Go onto the Wellington City Libraries and Johnsonville Library Facebook pages for regular live-streaming of preschool storytime, Baby Rock and Rhyme and of course Quarantunes for nightly live performances.

You can download and print your own NZ Music month poster, which you can put on your bedroom wall or window.

Where can I find information about New Zealand Music, artists and bands?

ManyAnswers has a page dedicated to websites, resources and ways to search for information about New Zealand musicians and bands. The National Library also has a page dedicated to New Zealand Music, where you can explore the culture, history and uses of music in New Zealand along with famous singers (traditional and contemporary), music awards, bands and the styles of music unique to New Zealand.

For more information, on events and ideas on how to celebrate, visit the following websites:

NZ Music Month official website.

New Zealand Curriculum Online – New Zealand Music Month.

NZ History – New Zealand Music Month.

Enjoy!… and Happy New Zealand Music Month 2020!

Matariki – Māori New Year

 


Kia ora koutou,

Matariki is a time to celebrate, remember and plan. It is a time to be together and to share and learn new skills.

One way to find out more about Matariki could to to explore Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand 


Would you like to listen in Te Reo, English (or both!) to this story woven with magic, love and adventure?

The Seven Stars of Matariki / Te Huihui o Matariki by Toni Rolleston is a beautiful book to read about Matariki. It’s available in English, and te reo. Check out the videos below.

Image Courtesy of SyndeticsImage Courtesy of Syndetics

 



 


You might want to keep practising your New Zealand Sign Language AND your Te Reo! Learn some more sign by watching  19 year old Tuhoi Henry (Te Uri o Hau).


Image Courtesy of SyndeticsThen, you could borrow the book Matariki and keep improving your signing. Ka rawe!

 

 

 


Pop over to the Wellington City Libraries and explore our Tamariki section here

You will find some great tools to help you improve your Te Reo.


Ngā mihi.

Eid Mubarak to our Muslim whānau


In 2019, Eid begins on Tuesday 4 June and ends on Wednesday 5 June. People traditionally greet each other on the day with the phrase “Eid Mubarak”, which means ‘blessed celebration’. Check out these books to find out more about this important international celebration.

Image Courtesy of Syndetics

Journey with George and his friend Kareem as they celebrate Eid. Together they try special treats, create baskets for others who have less money than they do and look for the crescent moon. This board book includes snappy rhyme that will appeal to school children.

Ramadan Image Courtesy of Syndetics

Learn and understand Ramadan and Eid as you enjoy this story.

 

 

 


Image Courtesy of SyndeticsSamīrah fī al-ʻĪd

Share with Samira and her family a day of fasting during Ramadan and feel her excitement as she sees the new moon. Practise your Arabic, your English, or even better, both!
Image Courtesy of SyndeticsEid al-Adha 

 

Explore Muslim culture through these clear explanations, and beautiful photographs. This non-fiction book will help you to become bilingual and multilingual too!


The Shapes of Eid, According to Me 

Experience visiting the Mosque, praying and getting henna done as you look at the shapes in nature and our world.

 

Happy Birthday… and death day William Shakespeare!

April is the month for celebrating Easter, ANZAC Day and the birth… and death of famous English playwright and poet, William Shakespeare.

This year marks Shakespeare’s, or the Bard of Avon, (assumed) 455th birthday on the 26th of April and 403rd death anniversary on the 23rd April.

 

How to celebrate?

In addition to the traditional birthday party, cake and presents, why not read all about his life, from his early and humble beginnings in Stratford upon Avon, England to conquering the stage in Queen Elizabeth’s court and the Globe Theatre.

image courtesy of sydneticsMuch ado about Shakespeare : the life and times of William Shakespeare : a literary picture book.

Take a peek behind the curtain to discover the boy, the youth, the man behind some of the greatest works of literature. The life and times of William Shakespeare are richly imagined in this unique biography told using quotes from the Bard himself.

image courtesy of sydneticsWilliam Shakespeare : scenes from the life of the world’s greatest writer.

Follow the amazing life of William Shakespeare, vividly described in words and pictures, with graphic dramatisations of Shakespeare’s most famous plays.

image courtesy of syndeticsShakespeare.

Find out how in Eyewitness Shakespeare and discover the fascinating life and times of one of the world’s greatest playwrights. Travel back in time and follow Shakespeare from his birth in the small town of Stratford-upon-Avon to theatre life in 16th century London. Eyewitness reference books are now more interactive and colourful, with new infographics, statistics, facts and timelines, plus a giant pull-out wall chart, you’ll be an expert on Shakespeare in no time. Great for projects or just for fun, learn everything you need to know about Shakespeare.

 

Read and relive your favourite Shakespeare plays. Wellington City Libraries holds a huge array of plays, including The Taming of the ShrewRomeo and Juliet, Twelfth NightAs You Like It and King Lear.

image courtesy of sydneticsimage courtesy of syndetics

image courtesy of syndeticsimage courtesy of sydnetics

 

 


 

You also might be interested in…

image courtesy of syndeticsShakespeare edited by Marguerite Tassi.

A collection of thirty-one of playwright and poet William Shakespeare’s most famous verses, sonnets and speeches.

He was the world’s greatest playwright, and the English language’s finest writer, Shakespeare is the man the Oxford English dictionary credits as having invented over 1700 common words, and to whom we owe expressions such as ‘fair play’, ‘break the ice’, and ‘laughing stock’. The continued timelessness and genius of his work will be celebrated the world over on his special day.

image courtesy of sydneticsShakespeare retold.

This illustrated volume features seven classic plays by William Shakespeare, retold by E. Nesbit. Shakespeare Retold contains a selection of Shakespeare’s tragedies and comedies, including Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, as well as a historical timeline, a list of suggested reading materials, and a short biography of the bard himself.

 

Have some fun with William Shakespeare!

image courtesy of syndeticsPop-up Shakespeare.

“Discover beloved playwright William Shakespeare’s plays and poetry in this spectacular novelty book from the Reduced Shakespeare Company comedy troupe. Featuring dramatic pop-ups and foldouts and loaded with jokes and fascinating facts, this hilariously informative and fully immersive look into the Bard’s world invites you to experience Shakespeare’s works as you’ve never seen them before!” — Back cover.

image courtesy of syndeticsWhere’s Will? : find Shakespeare hidden in his plays.

Each play in this book begins with a summary of the plot and descriptions of the characters. On the following page is a detailed picture showing the setting of the play and within it you can find the characters, William Shakespeare , and a spotted pig.

 

Watch movies inspired by Shakeaspeare’s plays:

image courtesy of amazon.co.ukThe Lion King… inspired by Hamlet.

You can never go wrong with an oldie but a goodie.

Tricked into thinking he caused his father’s death, Simba, a guilt ridden lion cub flees into exile and abandons his identity as the future King. However when the fate of his kingdom is threatened, he is forced to return and take his place as King.

image courtesy of sydneticsGnomeo & Juliet… inspired by Romeo and Juliet.

Caught up in a feud between neighbors, Gnomeo and Juliet must overcome as many obstacles as their namesakes. But with flamboyant pink flamingoes and epic lawnmower races, can this young couple find lasting happiness?


Also check out the sequel, Sherlock Gnomes.image courtesy of syndetics

Garden gnomes, Gnomeo and Juliet, recruit renowned detective Sherlock Gnomes to investigate the mysterious disappearance of other garden ornaments.

 

Ghosts, monsters, and naughty gods: All you need to know about Halloween!

To many of us, Halloween is not much more than an excuse to wear a spooky costume, listen to some scary stories and maybe carve up a pumpkin, all while hoovering up more lollies than is probably wise. However, to find out more about why people the world over celebrate this holiday, we have to step back in time to visit the ancient Celts, with quick stopovers in 7th-century Rome and 16th-century Germany along the way.

Let’s go for a spooky ride through time.

The brainy people who study such things generally agree that Halloween finds its roots in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced sa-win). Samhain was traditionally held on November 1, and it marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, the “dark half” of the year. Ancient Celts believed that during Samhain the world of the gods became visible to ordinary people, and the gods delighted in frightening and playing tricks on their worshippers. Sometimes they appeared as monsters in the dead of night. Sound familiar?

When the Romans conquered Britain in the 1st century CE, they merged Samhain with their own festival of the dead, Feralia. Now the frightening monsters and delicious treats of the harvest were joined by ghosts and restless spirits. The traditions that make up modern Halloween were starting to take form.

Fastforward to Rome, 7th century CE. Pope Boniface IV brought in All Saints’ Day, originally celebrated on May 13 — within a century, the date was changed to November 1, perhaps in an attempt to replace the pagan Samhain festival with a Christian equivalent. The day before All Saints’ Day was considered holy, or ‘hallowed.’ This is where the word ‘Halloween’ comes from — it is the Hallowed Eve.

Zoom forwards in time again to Germany, 16th century CE. The Protestant Reformation, led by people like Martin Luther and John Calvin, put a stop to the still pagan-influenced Halloween festival in most Protestant countries. However, in Britain and Ireland, the festival remained in place as a secular (non-religious) holiday, and the tradition followed English-speaking settlers to the United States, where it is still a hugely important part of the festive calendar. Many of the traditions introduced in the dark and mysterious woods and cairns of ancient Celtia live on to this day in the form of the modern Halloween festival.

Interested in learning more about this fascinating and era-spanning festival, and the people who celebrated it? Why not check out some of these books at your local library:

Celts by Sonya Newland
“The Celts were fearsome warriors, but they also developed trade routes across Europe and made beautiful jewellery. Find out about Celtic tribes, how Boudicca rebelled against the Romans, and how the Celts celebrated with feasts and festivals.” (Catalogue)


Prehistoric Britain by Alex Frith
“From the age of dinosaurs to the Roman invasion, this book tells the story of this vast and exciting period of British history. It describes when and how people first came to Britain, and includes information on the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Celts and the mysteries of Stonehenge. Full of facts, illustrations, photographs, maps and timelines.” (Catalogue)


Celebrate Halloween by Deborah Heiligman
“Vivid images and lively, inviting text illuminate the spookiest night of the year. This book spirits readers on a tour of Halloween celebrations around the globe as it explores the rich history of this holiday and the origins of its folklore, food, games, costumes, and traditions.” (Catalogue)


Traditional celebrations by Ian Rohr
“This interesting book is part of a series written for young students that focuses on a wide variety of celebrations and festivals held for special occasions throughout the world. It focuses on traditional celebrations.” (Catalogue)

Chinese New Year: The Year of the Rooster

It’s that time of the year again with the Chinese New Year festivities beginning on Saturday 28 January and running through to Wednesday 15 February. This year is the year of the Red Fire Rooster, which represents inner warmth and insight, as well as family ties. Find your year of birth here to discover which of the 12 Zodiac animals you are!

 

 

The Chinese New Year, sometimes called the Spring Festival, has been celebrated for hundreds of years and is considered the most important event on the Chinese calendar. It is also celebrated by many of China’s neighbouring countries, such as Thailand, Singapore, Cambodia and the Philippines.

 

 

People in China and other countries celebrate this important occasion in all sorts of different ways. However, a couple of very popular traditions include a reunion dinner with family on the eve of the Chinese New Year, and many families do a thorough clean of their homes in order to sweep away bad things and make room for good fortune in the year ahead. Fireworks are also a common way to celebrate the Chinese New Year.

 

 

In Wellington, we celebrate the Chinese New Year with a festival day which is free to attend. Sample some special Chinese food, take part in the kids activities, or watch the parade as it proceeds from Courtenay Place to Frank Kitts Park. There might even be some fireworks in the harbour! Check out all the details for the Wellington festival day here.

 

 

Check out our wide collection of Chinese New Year books on the catalogue, and get involved this Chinese New Year!