A GUIDE TO PUBLIC HOLIDAYS IN AUSTRALIA 2014
All countries have particular days of national and cultural importance, in Australia ‘Public Holidays’ are days in which citizens are given the day off of work or school to celebrate a particular event. It is important to be aware of when public holidays are approaching not only to prevent an unnecessary trip into work but also because many government services as well as other business are closed on these days. Additionally due to differing demands public transport timetables operate on a different schedule.
AUSTRALIA DAY – 26/01/14
Australia Day is Australia’s National Day to commemorate the arrival of the First Fleet of ships from Britain and in more modern times to celebrate Australia’s diverse, multicultural society, landscape and history. There are a number of ceremonies held on Australia Day including citizenship and affirmation ceremonies as well as Australia Day Ambassador program. The day also marks the Australian of the Year Awards which celebrates the achievements and contributions of individuals to the Australian Community. Many Australians visit local beaches on Australia Day or host BBQs to celebrate.
There are also a large number of events held across a number of different states and territories including:
- Firework displays
- Flag Raising Ceremonies
- Local BBQs
- Live Entertainment
- Art and Culture events
- Sporting events
For more information regarding events in your location visit: http://www.australiaday.org.au/events/
GOOD FRIDAY – 18/04/14
EASTER MONDAY – 21/04/14
The Good Friday public holiday marks what is often referred to as the 4 day ‘Easter Weekend’ finishing with an additional public holiday on Easter Monday. Both Holidays derive from the Christian celebration of Easter to commemorate the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Accordingly, many churches hold additional sessions throughout this time. However, in modern times the holiday is not exclusively celebrated by people of Christian faith. As with many other public holidays the Post Office, schools and many stores do not open on Good Friday or Easter Monday.
In Australia, many people take short holidays during this time, heading down to beaches, camping grounds and other holiday destinations. This however does affect traffic conditions as a significant number of people are out on the roads and heading towards Airports, which in turn causes congestion and delays. Other customs during this time include purchasing and hiding Easter Eggs for children and also consuming ‘hot cross buns’ a sweet bun traditionally cooked with raisins.
If you are not intending to head away on a short holiday there are a number of events across the country held throughout this time including:
- The Three Peaks Race in Tasmania on Good Friday
- Easter Racing Carnival in Sydney
- Brisbane to Gladstone Yacht Race on Good Friday
- Bendigo Easter Festival in Victoria
- The Sydney Royal Easter Show
- The National Folk Festival in Canberra
ANZAC DAY – 25/04/14
ANZAC Day is a public holiday to commemorate and pay tribute to Australian service men and woman who served in the Australian Forces. ANZAC derives from the ‘Australian and New Zealand Army Corp’ and the day marks the landing of the forces on the Gallipoli Peninsula in Turkey during WWI. On ANZAC day ‘dawn services’ are held at local RSL clubs, local War Memorials and in each major capital city. The dawn service will typically involve the playing of The Last Post, a minute’s silence, the laying of the wreaths and also famous poetry such as ‘In Flander’s Fields’ and are widely attended throughout Australia. In addition to the dawn service, there is also the ANZAC Day Parade held in the CBD of each major city where current and past service men and women march in rememberance which is also broadcast live on national t.v.
There is also a ANZAC Day ‘Aussie Rules’ Football match and a Rugby League Football Game. Many RSL clubs hold breakfasts and BBQs on ANZAC Day and the Australian gambling game of ‘two up’ is traditionally played in pubs and clubs.
For more information visit on the history of ANZAC Day visit: http://www.anzaccentenary.gov.au/
QUEENS BIRTHDAY – 09/06/14
Australia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and as such we have a public holiday to celebrate the Queen’s Birthday. Queen Elizabeth II is currently the Head of State. She was born on April 21, 1926 however the holiday is proclaimed on a range of dates in the different countries of the Commonwealth.
This holiday is observed on the second Monday of June in all states except Western Australia where the governor sets the date; usually around the last Monday of September. Many people attend the Queen’s Birthday Parade or sporting events such as the AFL Game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground between Collingwood and Melbourne.
CHRISTMAS DAY – 25/12/14
& BOXING DAY – 26/12/14
Christmas Day celebrates the birth of Jesus however it is a holiday enjoyed by people of any faith, gifts are exchanged, houses decorated and parties organised. The day is spent with family and close friends at home or away at holiday houses or camping grounds. The Australian Christmas is becoming increasingly influenced by our climate and images. The traditional Roast and pudding are popular however many people choose to have BBQs and seafood followed by Pavlova with a visit to the beach very common.
Schools close early in December for the long summer holidays and most stores and businesses are closed for Christmas and Boxing Day. Some public transport systems also close down so it is important to plan ahead.
Boxing Day is celebrated in every state except South Australia where it is named Proclamation Day. The day after Christmas is marked with important sporting events such as the Boxing Day Test Match, A cricket game held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground between Australia and other national teams touring, and the Sydney to Hobart Yacht race. In most parts of Australia stores begin their post-Christmas sales. The crowds at the Boxing Day sales can sometimes be significantly larger than those attending the Cricket!
To learn more about the Boxing Day Test Match Click Here.