January is, of course, the beginning of the new year, but in Australia, January is also the month for the nation’s founding day! Australia Day is coming up—the 26th of January, to be exact—and there are tons of fun and unique ways to celebrate this national holiday.
Firstly, if you’re going to celebrate Australia Day, it would be good to know a bit of history behind the day itself. According to Publicholidays.com.au, Australia Day celebrates Captain Arthur Phillip’s first landing in the country. Between January 18 and January 20, 1788, the first fleet of 11 ships docked into Botany Harbor, in order to establish a penal colony. However, that particular spot wasn’t especially suitable for creating a colony, so Phillip and a crew explored the area and came upon the south shore of Port Jackson. Phillip named this spot Sydney Cove. Two weeks later, the penal colony was formally established February 7.
However, it’s worth noting that not all people look on Australia Day as a day of fun and commemoration. Some of Australia’s indigenous people view Australia Day as a day of sadness and offense. The viewpoint of some of Australia’s indigenous people about Australia Day is that the day commemorates the moment their land was invaded by outsiders.
It’s because of this reason that one great way to observe Australia Day is to learn more about Australia’s indigenous cultures. Colonisation has had a profound effect on the relationship between those descended from settlers and those descended from indigenous Australians. Learning more about the history of Australia before colonization, the customs and practices that make up the indigenous cultures, and how to help conserve their heritage would go a long way towards advancing your social consciousness.
If you’re looking for family-friendly ways to celebrate the holiday, Australiaday.org.au has a lot of suggestions. Certainly, spending the day at the beach or taking in the sights at your local national park are two easy ways to celebrate Australia Day. Other ways to celebrate the holiday include having a multicultural Australian barbeque, cooking Australian favorites like lamingtons, taking part in community events, or visiting a museum.
No matter how you celebrate Australia Day, one of the main things that should make the day worthwhile is having fun—either by yourself, with family, friends, or your community.
How will you celebrate Australia Day?