Why do we have days of celebrations and holiday?
Australians hold certain days each year as special days of national meaning. We may recognise the day with a holiday for everyone or we can celebrate the day as a nation with special events. Most states and territories observe some of the public holidays on the same date. They have others on different dates or have some days that only their state or territory celebrates. In larger cities, most shops, restaurants and public transport continue to operate on public holidays. In smaller towns, most shops and restaurants close.
Christmas and Easter are two of the main public holidays. Some other important national dates are:
Australia Day, January 26, is the day we as a people and place celebrate our nationhood. The day is a public holiday. The day marks the founding of the first settlement in our nation by European people.
Anzac Day is on April 25 the day the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed at Gallipoli in Turkey in 1915 during World War 1. This day is set apart to hold dear the memory of those who fought for our nation and those who lost their life to war. The day is a public holiday. We remember with ceremonies, wreath laying and military parades.
Melbourne Cup Day happens on the first Tuesday of November each year. The cup is a world famous horse race. Most people whether at work, school or home, stop and watch the race on television. It is a public holiday in metropolitan Melbourne. In other places and mainly in the workplace, many people have a lunch or party to celebrate Melbourne Cup.
NAIDOC Week starts on the second Sunday in July and is a week of highlighting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and heritage. NAIDOC Week is the outcome of a long history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander efforts to bring issues of concern to the notice of governments and the public.
There are other events that are not public holidays but celebrate an aspect of Australia. There is Australian Citizenship Day on September 17 that celebrates the importance of Australian Citizenship. Harmony Day on March 21 celebrates our racial respect and community harmony.
Australians also love to celebrate many other occasions. More and more Australians adopt other festivities such as Chinese New Year, which is not a public holiday.