I feel as if I have not been keeping you informed on things lately so I am devoting this blog to outlining the Australian holidays! Aren’t you excited?? Of course some are just like we celebrate in the US but Australia has some of its very own to celebrate their heritage. So here we go!
Christmas is the big summer event. Almost everyone goes on holiday from mid-December to mid-January so there is not a lot of business that gets done then. Ask Chris! It is sometimes called the Silly Season!! Chrissy (Christmas) traditions are a family tea on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with the family all sitting around. Double ended party poppers are at each setting and the practice is that your neighbor pulls one end while you pull the other. Who ever ends up with the largest piece (kind of like our turkey wishbone thing!) gets the prize inside which might be a toy or a joke and a crepe paper crown which you are obliged to wear!
Boxing Day is the day after Christmas. It is a British holiday when the class system was in order. Whe the servants served the wealthy on Christmas Day they were given the following day off along with the Christmas leftovers in a box. Just an extension of the Christmas holiday!
New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are big, and a great time to go to the beach or have a bbq.
The Queen’s Birthday Is celebrated at various times throughout the year depending upon what state you live in . It is sometime in June (except in Western Australia and is in September). It is basically a celebration of the reigning British monarch—since it is celebrated in the winter the only thing to worry about is that it is a long weekend and the date changes to hook up with a weekend.
Good Friday, Easter and Easter Monday is the longest holiday in Australia with a four day weekend!!! School breaks usually come at this time and there is not a lot of business that gets done at this time.
Labour Day is a long weekend (varies by state ) and celebrates the coming of the 8 hour workday. The workweek is currently 38 hours.
ANZAC Day is April 25th. It stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps and is probably the most important holiday in Australia. It commemorates the 1915 invasion of the Gallipoli Peninsula on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey during the First World War. ANZAC Day now celebrates all soldiers, sailors, airmen, and women who have served in the Australian forces in the Boer War, World Wars I and II, Korea and Vietnam along with several other wars where they were part of the UN peacekeeping forces. There are ceremonies everywhere to honor those who served.
Melbourne Cup Day is the first Tuesday in November when the most important horse race of the year occurs. It would compare to Super Bowl Sunday. I went to a luncheon to celebrate it and we watched the race on a huge screen–lots of betting goes on and folks dress up fancy! Long lunch that day and most do not go back to work that arvo!
Sorry Day is the official holiday to remember and apologize to the Aboriginal people for what the white Europeans did to them. It is considered somewhat of a minor holiday –maybe more of a protest than a celebration. No time is taken off of work.
Other holidays vary from state to state throughout the year. Some are agricultural holidays. The general attitude of the people on a long weekend is that they don’t necessarily know what the holiday is but they enjoy it!
So that is it in a nutshell—seems like they have fewer holidays than we have in the US but this is the general outline just so you know!