This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

Electronic Highways

Published: February 3, 2005

February: A month for celebration

With the December holidays a distant memory and another two months of winter on the horizon, it's time for a break. Why not take some time to learn more about three different, but equally fascinating, events that happen during the month of February: Chinese New Year, Carnival and Black History Month. Here is a small sample of the hundreds of Internet and library resources that cover various aspects of all three holidays, from the scholarly and thought-provoking to the fun and crafty.

Feb. 9 starts the Chinese New Year. This 15-day celebration marks the beginning of the Year of the Rooster. To learn more about the Chinese zodiac, the history of the Chinese New Year, traditions and foods, visit "Chinese New Year" at Web Holidays, http://www.web- The Chinese Cultural Center of San Francisco has created "Chinese Holidays and Festivals" at /chineseculture/. The site contains links to traditional and modern Chinese New Year's traditions, New Year symbolism and the meaning behind the Chinese zodiac. Also included is a link to the Lantern Festival, which marks the end of Chinese New Year celebrations. For scholarly articles on the folklore, customs and commercialization of this ancient holiday, try a simple search in the "Bibliography of Asian Studies" at html using the phrase "Chinese New Year." Finally, have some fun and convert your name into Chinese characters and find out your Chinese zodiac at http://www.

Carnival 2005 runs for 12 days and climaxes with a grand parade and street party on Feb. 8. Venice, the city synonymous with Carnival, is home to elaborate costumes, artistically stunning masks, decadent parties and outstanding theatrical performances. The Venetian Carnival outshines New Orleans' Mardi Gras and Rio's Carnivale. The official Web site for the Venetian Carnival, carnival/en/news/index.html, provides its history, curious facts, a calendar of 2005 events and beautiful images from past Carnivals. If you can't get to Carnival, let Carnival come to you by viewing the Web cam of St. Mark's Square. Masks are a large part of the Carnival mystique. Mask Makers Web http://www.maskmakersweb. org/ is a portal for the mask-making community. Members contribute links covering traditional folk masks, religious masks and theatrical masks. The site contains articles on the history of mask making in various cultures, links to museums with mask collections, artisan Web sites and much more. Finally, for an anthropological perspective on the ceremonies surrounding Carnival, try a subject search in Anthropological Literature at < strong> The database contains articles on Carnival celebrations from around the world, including traditions from Europe, Africa and South America.

The month of February is also Black History Month. Visit American Slavery: A Composite Autobiography at for first-hand accounts of life, culture and survival for more than 2,000 former African-American slaves. This collection also offers links to virtual syllabi, curriculum guides and discussion forums. Another valuable resource is the PBS Online Web site Africans in America at It documents the journey of Africans in America from 1450 (the beginning of the Portuguese slave trade) to 1865 (the surrender of the Confederate Army). The site provides a general narrative of each era's historical events, a resource center with images, biographies and commentaries, and a teacher's curriculum guide. Finally, Encyclopedia Britannica's Guide to Black History at blackhistory examines five centuries of black heritage through five distinct time periods—from the slave revolts of early America through the successes of the civil rights movement. The site contains a timeline of historical events; detailed articles on Black culture, politics and religion; an audio/video archive; and an annotated bibliography for further reading.

—Laura Taddeo and Cynthia Tysick, University Libraries