All posts by Sumayyah

About Sumayyah

Sumayyah is an Information Assistant at the Vaughan Public Libraries. She's also a bookworm and author, constantly dreaming up a multitude of different stories and wrestling with finishing them.  |  Meet the team

All the World’s a Stage: Celebrating International Theater Day

theater

International Theater Day was established on March 27th, 1961 by the UNESCO International Theatre Institute (ITI). On this day, various national and international theatre events take place, including a circulation of the World Theatre Day International Message. At the invitation of the ITI, a notable figure will share their reflections on ‘the theme of Theatre and a Culture of Peace’, which is then translated into more than 20 languages.

This year’s author of the message is Jon Fosse, a Norwegian writer and playwright, who you can read about here. Of his works, we have his Septology in our catalogue, ready for you to borrow and delve into.

My theater experience is limited to a production of Anastasia at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre a few years back (it was delightful and magical!) and constantly foiled attempts to see Matilda the Musical (the tickets sold out so fast).

Every year I tell myself I’ll manage to go to the Stratford festival and see a play…and every year I never do, due to various reasons. But maybe 2024 will be my year; I very much hope to watch Twelfth Night, Romeo and Juliet and/or Wendy and Peter Pan!

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The Leap Year Conundrum

leap-year

While Leap Year is a fun rom-com (which I recommend for anyone who’s a fan of rom-coms, Ireland, or Matthew Goode) and a great way to wrap up February-the-month-of-love…this post is only tangentially about it. In my last post, I talked a bit about the Lunar New Year, and it would be remiss of me if I didn’t also talk about our solar calendar and it’s fun quirk: the leap year.

What is a leap year, why is a leap year, and what does it do besides give February an extra day? Well, I did some digging and it turns out the leap year exists partly because of the sun, partly because of Julius Caesar, and partly because of a Pope.

In 46 BCE, Julius Caesar decided to reform the Roman Calendar, because their year was about 10 days shorter than ours. In order to keep the seasons happening at a regular time, they would simply add a new month to the year whenever it was needed. Inspired by the Egyptians’ more regular solar calendar, Caesar decided to make the year 365 days long instead, to match the time it takes the Earth to orbit the sun. The new Julian calendar sounded like a simple fix, but implementing it took a bit of finagling. To make the transition from the old Roman calendar to the new one flow well, Caesar made that first new year 445 days long and then adjusted the next to our familiar 365 days.

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Here Be Dragons

the-book-of-dragons

According to the Chinese Lunar calendar, 2024 is the Year of the Dragon, and I am a huge fan of dragons. They’re just very cool, and I find it fascinating and mysterious that almost every culture in the world has a dragon or dragon-esque creature in their legends, mythologies, and hagiography. I wonder if they came about in response to dinosaurs…

Funnily enough, I just finished reading The Book of Dragons, an anthology of short stories all about dragons by some of my favourite authors, and so I thought I’d combine those two coincidences into a fun, dragon-themed post! (You can read my response to this book on my own site, if you like!)

Before we get into the media recommendations, you might be wondering what’s with the title. I’d always thought ‘here be dragons’ was a phrase used by ancient mapmakers to mark unknown regions of the world. Apparently, this isn’t quite true! According to a National Geographic article, “apart from an inscription on a single, 16th-century globe, this claim is unfounded.” However, “mapmakers would often place monsters and other imagined creatures to marked unexplored areas” which might be why ‘here be dragons’ can often be found in fictional maps.

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