Thursday, January 26, 2012

Australia Day.... I still have no idea

January 26th is Australia Day.

Nearly every Australian (which, admittedly, isn't many) I've asked what Australia Day celebrates has no clue. Except it's about being Australian.

So, on to Google I went, because no one could give me a satisfactory answer.

Apparently, it's a close equivalent to our Forth of July. In my geocentric brain, anyway.

It is, at it's barest meaning, about being Australian. Which would mean throwing some sort of BBQ with lamb, as I've been told a few times. Lamb and sausages. (Not as tasty as it sounds, in my opinion).

Looking up some historical bits though, it's to commemorate the landing of the first convict ships and first governor of New South Wales.

So, when the first boat-load of British prisoners and their leader landed in Australia in 1788. It has, since then from what I can gather, become about the pride of being Australian, and descending from a rather hardy people, who were sent to a rather harsh (though somewhat beautiful)l land for committing crimes like stealing bread to feed their starving families, or offending the wrong nobleman. And probably some much harsher things than that, but those are, literally, some of the crimes the British would send convicts away to Australia (and The Colonies). Australia Day didn't become a public holiday (meaning, most everyone has the day off work) until 1994.

So, like I said, a lot like our Forth of July. Except that Americans celebrate their freedom and Australians celebrate.... I guess, it's still just being Australian and being proud of it.

My husband and his family don't much care what the holiday is based on, what it means, or the history of it., They're just glad for a day off work. Last year, when I visited, it was somewhat cold and damp, not close to a real summer, and I made them fried chicken and apple pie (they loved it, I thought it was funny). SO I've somewhat followed suite and my interest in the holiday, other than my husband getting a day off work, has somewhat petered out.

This year, it was HOT. And beautifully sunny. So my husband and I spent the morning dawdling around the house, me picking herbs to dry from the garden and then reading up on them, him.... doing something. And then, around the hottest part of the day, we ended up at the beach. A beach I haven't been to yet, with a wide stretch of yellow sand and beautiful blue water and gentle waves. And it was hot enough I actually made it into the water for my first Australian ocean swim! We acted like kids, jumping over, under, and through waves. It was glorious. Then, we dug our toes in the sand and relaxed on the beach, just listening to the waves.

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