Many people believe that since Australia is a relatively new country, it doesn't have an abundance of culture and traditions. That is not true. Australia is a melting pot of cultures (including native Australians) and the country has its own set of unique characteristics and traditions. If you are planning to visit Australia, it is useful to have an awareness of the distinct qualities of the culture.
Australia Day is the country's national day, officially speaking. It takes place on January 26th every year, and it celebrates the First Fleet arrival from 1788. It is a public holiday and usually is celebrated in the forms of attending a live music (or other type of live entertainment) event, watching fireworks, having a barbecue at home, relaxing with drinks at the local pub, or enjoying a feast of traditional Australian fare (such as biscuits in a koala shape, pie floaters, lamingtons and pavola). Dressing up in Australian colors--red, white and blue, like the nation's flag--is another good way to show your celebratory spirit.
Since Australia is located in the southern hemisphere, Christmas is, bizarrely enough to many, a summertime holiday for them, meaning there is no such meaning to a "white Christmas." There is no "typical" Australian Christmas or set traditions. However, similarly to many other nations, Christmas is a family event in Australia. People often sing Christmas carols, exchange presents and cards, go to church services on Christmas day, and adorn their residences and businesses with bright holiday lights. Christmas foods in Australia include a Christmas cake (usually panettone), turkey, cold ham and turkey for salads, Christmas pudding, ice cream, mince pies and seafood.
Anzac Day takes place on the 25th of April every year and is an abbreviation for "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps." The holiday was established in order to both remember and honor Australians who have passed away while serving for their country in wars. War veterans usually march through urban streets and discuss memories over drinks later on in the afternoon. There are ceremonies conducted around war memorials all over the nation on Anzac Day. The celebrations include wreath laying, hymns, prayers, silence and then the Australian national anthem.
Boxing Day takes place every year on December 26th, the day after Christmas, in the midst of the Australian warmth. It is a public holiday and the majority of Australians like to spend it relaxing on the beach. It is a recreational holiday. In the territory of South Australia, it is referred to as Proclamation Day. A lot of sporting events take place on Boxing Day.
Traditional Aussie Foods
Australians do not eat that differently than many Americans and Western Europeans, though there are some traditional Australian cuisines and food staples. Some of these include the famous vegemite over sandwiches or toast (a dark spread composed of salt and yeast extract), pavola (soft meringue dessert with fruit and cream filling), lamingtons (small sponge cake desserts with coconut and chocolate coating) and meat pies.
Isabel Prontes is a freelance writer and traveler residing in Manhattan, NY. She has traveled to five continents and counting. Her work has appeared on a number of websites, such as Travels, eHow.com and "Happy Living Magazine." Prontes has a professional background in public relations; she received a bachelor's degree in communication studies from Pace University.