A couple of days ago I blogged about why I hate Halloween in Australia. You may have read it. If so, you’re note alone. Over the last 48 hours, that post has risen to be the second most viewed post on this blog.
I feel a bit like a small-time celebrity.
That feeling was reinforced yesterday morning when I awoke to find a message from the producer of ABC Radio Perth asking me to contact her. I gave her a call, and she said that she’d read my blog, and enjoyed the voice of my writing. Then she asked if I would be a guest on the 720 ABC Radio Morning Show with Geoff Hutchison to talk about Halloween and my views on why Australians shouldn’t go trick-or-treating.
No prizes for guessing my answer.
Interesting facts about “appearing” on live radio via phone:
- Even though no one could see me, I still put on make-up and made sure I was dressed in something more impressive than my PJs.
- I spent most of the three hours between agreeing to be a guest and actually “appearing” doing intensive research. Of random facts. That had nothing to do with what I was going to talk about.
- I spent the remainder of those three hours contacting my family and friends to tell them I was going to be on the radio.
- When the time finally came… it was actually very easy. I was just having a conversation with a man on the phone, who was asking me about my experiences and opinions. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s stating my opinion!
- All that aside, when I finished the conversation, all I wanted was a glass of wine. To celebrate. Yeah, that was it.
It was a great experience. And if any other radio producers are reading this blog, I’m available for sharing my thoughts and opinions whenever you like.
But on to the topic du jour…
Quite a few people commented on that earlier post about how sad it is that Australians don’t celebrate Halloween, because it’s such a great holiday. (And you won’t find any arguments from me, as I mentioned.) But it occured to me that, much as you may not have realised that Australians don’t celebrate Halloween, Thanksgiving, Independence Day, Presidents Day, etc. etc. etc., you may not know much about the holidays that we do celebrate.
Allow me to enlighten you.
1st January: New Year’s Day — Generally spent recovering from hangover, and then hitting the beach/park/great outdoors for a barbecue, some more drinks and a game or two of cricket or volleyball.
26th January: Australia Day — This is where we celebrate all things Australian. People display the Aussie flag, bake Anzac cookies, and get together with family and friends in the great outdoors for a barbecue, plenty of alcoholic beverages, and a game or two of cricket or volleyball.
April: Easter Friday – Sunday — Ostensibly a Christian holiday, Easter is often observed as a time to go on a family camping trip to the great outdoors. For those who can’t get away for the entire holiday (which also falls in the middle of school holidays), at least one or two days are taken up with a barbecue, heaps of drinking, and a game or two of cricket or volleyball.
25th April: ANZAC Day — This is the day that we celebrate the sacrifice of the Anzacs in World War 1, and the service men and women who fight for Australia in general. The morning is taken up with veterans and current soldiers marching through the city streets, surrounded by well-wishers cheering them on. There are speeches and medals and music. At lunch time, everyone disperses to the pub, where there’s a traditional barbecue, drinking, and possibly a game or two of cricket or volleyball.
June: Queen’s Birthday — Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is a holiday to commemorate the Queen. Apparently. Really, it’s the last long weekend of the year and happens just before winter hits in full force. So it’s last chance to either go camping, or head into the great outdoors for a barbecue, plenty of drinks, and a game or two of cricket or volleyball.
Labour Day — This holiday falls in a different month in each state/territory. (Fortunately we only have 6 states and 2 territories. If we had more than 12, we’d be in trouble.) I don’t really know what the point of it is. Generally, people use it as an excuse to get drunk, have a barbecue and play some cricket or volleyball.
November: Melbourne Cup Day — The Melbourne Cup: the Race that Stops the Nation. (Although it’s only the Victorians who get a day off work for it. So you’re lucky if you’re one of those 25% of Australians.) If you have no idea what that means, let me explain. It’s a horse race. At 3:10pm on the first Tuesday of November, there’s the biggest horse race of the year. Traditionally, this is celebrated with a breakfast of chicken and champagne, followed by the ritual of donning your best clothes (plus a hat for the ladies), having a “flutter” on the horses, and drinking all afternoon. Even if you’re one of the 75% of people who still have to work, everything stops for the race. And good employers provide champagne for their employees.
25th December: Christmas Day — Celebrated either with a hot roast lunch (despite the sweltering temperatures) or a barbecue. It’s mandatory to have a nap after lunch if you’re over 30, and then the evening is full of eating leftovers, plenty of drinking, and maybe a game of cricket or volleyball.
26th December: Boxing Day — Food. Drinks. Cricket (either on TV or in reality). Drinks. Board games. Drinks. Barbecue dinner. Drinks. And then a few drinks to round things out.
So, there you have it. As you can clearly see, we Australians have a vast array of holidays, and celebrate them all in our own inimitable fashion. What do you think — still feel bad that we don’t have Halloween?
Disclaimer: I don’t condone binge drinking, I just say it like it is. Also, other Australians may have different ways to celebrate these holidays. I welcome comments and alternate viewpoints.