Australia is a beautiful country that has a little bit of everything for all the family: snowy mountains, stunning beaches, vibrant food, exceptional wines, adorable animal species, warm and welcoming people, unforgettable tourist spots, best holiday programs for kids and teenagers and an incredibly diverse culture and lifestyle. In other words, it’s a gorgeous place that is definitely worth visiting.
How about the holidays in this so-called “Land Down Under”? What are the holidays and traditions in Australia?
Just like many countries, the major religion in Australia is Christianity, with the major denominations of Catholicism and Anglicanism accounting for approximately 36% of the Australian population. Other major religions in the country include Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, among others.
With Christianity as the major religion, it means that plenty of Australians are accustomed to celebrating Easter and Christmas every year. But since the country is located in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas falls in the summer, which makes the Australian way of celebrating Christmas a lot different compared to Western counties.
That, plus other factors, helped shape up the holiday traditions Aussies are practising each year. Let’s have a look at some of the best Australian holiday traditions:
With the lack of snow during Australian Christmas, Aussies had to improvise. So instead of having a Santa Clause who wears red fleecy suits and big black boots that are much suited for colder weather, their version of Santa sports tank tops, boardshorts, and flip flops. Also, Australians build sandmen on the beaches instead of snowmen.
One of the best parts about Australian Christmas is the street parties that are either planned or unplanned. In these parties, the streets are filled to the brim with joyful families and kids because most Australians visit their relatives to celebrate together on Christmas Day – and there’s always a sense of family and belonging whether you are a guest in a community or not.
Prawns are very popular amongst Aussies, especially during Christmas Day, and feasting on prawns is Australia’s version of eating roast turkey and baked potato for Christmas. It’s a common practice for Australian families to send someone to go on a ‘prawn run’ before Christmas Day or on Christmas morning, where the task is to buy the freshest and most delicious prawns for everyone in the family to enjoy.
Perhaps the largest event during Australian Christmas is the Carols by Candlelight – a type of gathering hosted in most cities in Australia, including the major ones. What happens in a Carols by Candlelight is families gather in a park to enjoy their picnics, spend the evening outdoors listening to music, and sing Christmas songs with fellow attendees by candlelight. Some major cities also feature performances from celebrities and artists in their Carols by Candlelight.
Boxing Day is another event that Australians look forward to celebrating with their families, and it happens the day after Christmas. It is another public holiday that is traditionally another day that gives Aussies more time to spend with their loved ones. What usually happens once the family gatherings are over is the people visit a friends or neighbours’ house to watch or not watch the Boxing Day Test, which is a popular cricket Test match held in Melbourne from the 26th of December up to the 30th. And aside from the match, Aussies also have the Boxing Day sales to look forward to.