Christmas Day and Boxing Day (December 25–26) are recognized as national public holidays in Australia.
As compared to the northern hemisphere where the Christmas falls in the middle of the winter, in Australia Christmas falls in the middle of the summer and hence it is often very hot as the temperature during the Christmas time is in the mid 30 degrees Celsius range.
Christmas Celebrations in Australia :
In Australia, during Christmas, people often spend time out of their homes – by going to the beach, or heading to camping grounds for a longer break over the Christmas holiday period.
Christmas being a holiday season in Australia, schools and other educational institutions in the continent remain closed during the period.
Bondi Beach is visited by a large number of people on Christmas Day.
Feasting is an important part of the occasion. On December 25, extended families traditionally gather for a Christmas Day lunch similar to the traditional Christmas meal in England and America that includes decorated hams, roast turkey or ducks, roast or cold chicken, salads and roast vegetables, accompanied by Champagne, and followed by fruit mince pies or fruit salad, pavlova, trifle, plum pudding with brandy butter, glazed ham, cold deli meats, pasta, salads galore, desserts of all types and ice-creams. Christmas crackers are a feature of the meal. Candy canes are a popular confectionery in Australia in the Christmas period. More recently, as appropriate to the sometimes hot weather on the day, lighter meals featuring fish and seafood may be served, along with barbecue lunches. Most families try to be home together for Christmas and the main meal is eaten at lunch time. Most people now have a cold Christmas dinner, or a barbecue with seafood such as prawns and lobsters along with the ‘traditional english’ food.
In the Australian gold rushes, Christmas puddings often contained a gold nugget.
On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus visits houses placing presents for children under the Christmas tree or in hunging stockings. Snacks and beverages (including liquor) may be left out for Santa to consume during his visit. The gifts are opened the next morning, on Christmas Day.
Australians also sing carols by candlelight and decorate their homes and Christmas tree with flowers and other plants. Sending greetings and handing over gifts are also very popular here. Church is attended in great mass on Christmas Day. The atmosphere being conductive, many have Christmas dinner in the woods or on the beach in the style of a picnic. The Australians celebrate Christ’s birth with an imagery drawn from the Australian Christmas Bush.
In each State capital city there is a large Carols by Candlelight service. Famous Australian singers like The Wiggles, John Farnham, Anthony Warlow, Colin Gery, Niki Webster and many more help to sing the carols. Public celebrations include Carols by Candlelight Concert, on Christmas Eve, held at the Myer Music Bowl in Melbourne and Carols in the Domain, Australia’s largest annual community Christmas celebration. It is always held on the last Saturday before Christmas in Sydney’s Domain Gardens.The warm weather enables the Australians to take part in the traditional Australian Christmas eve carol service held in Melbourne every year. They sit on blankets, light numerous candles under the night sky and join together to sing Christmas Carols. Traditional carols are sung as well as some Australian ones like “Six White Boomers” and “Santa Never Made it into Darwin”. Most towns have a concert and two major ones are televised across Australia from Sydney and Melbourne.
A day after Christmas day, Boxing Day is celebrated in Australia. Boxing Day got its name from an old tradition when employers boxed gifts for their workers on the day after Christmas. On Boxing Day the Australian Cricket Team competes with one of its traditional opponents in a Test Match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground – known as Boxing Day Test Match. Many Australians spend boxing day watching the test match and the beginning of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race on Sydney Harbour some times referred to as ‘Bluewater Classic’.
There are also huge Christmas pageants in each state capital city. Most towns and cities have festivals and parades. In some places, there is a fireworks display at the local park. Many towns, cities and schools also hold their own Carols by Candlelight services, with local bands and choirs sometimes helping to perform the Christmas Carols and songs.
Although Christmas is celebrated in all parts of Australia, but still the Christmas and Boxing Day Celebrations are grand in major cities of Australia like Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Canberra, Hobart, Darwin, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, etc.
We wish all readers Merry Christmas 2016 & Prosperous New Year !!!