How Is Christmas Celebrated In Australia?
Christmas traditions vary depending on what part of the world you’re in. Australia is the smallest continent in the world, but the largest island. It may seem a long way away from Ireland, but we’re not as distant as we may seem. In fact, most of Australia’s immigrants came from England and Ireland, meaning that our Christmas traditions travelled with them.
In Australia, Christmas is celebrated on December 25th. However, it is not the cold Christmas in the middle of winter that we all know. Their seasons are opposite to ours, which means that the festive period falls during summer.
This means that many outdoor activities are held in celebration. Families go swimming, surfing, sailing and cycling before having Christmas dinner on the “barbie”, either in their garden or in a public area. For this meal, they will also enjoy a picnic of cold turkey, ham and salad. Santa Claus will visit the families on the beach, but wearing shorts instead of his usual attire.
Some families will enjoy a traditional British Christmas dinner of roast ham or turkey, as well as rich plum pudding doused in brandy and set aflame. Whoever finds the favour baked inside the pudding will enjoy good luck for the year coming.
The most popular event held around the holidays in Australia is Carols by Candelight. It sees people gather together at night by the light of candles to sing. This outdoor concert is accompanied by the stars shining above, to top off the scene.
Ferns, palm leaves and evergreens are used to decorates homes. As well as that, colourful flowers that bloom in the summer are used. These flowers are called Christmas bush and Christmas bellflower. Only some people choose to put up a Christmas tree, while nasturtiums, wisteria and honeysuckle bloom outside.
Just as we do in Ireland, schools and churches hold Nativity plays. However, they begin in November, rather than December. Carols are sung throughout this month.
On December 24th, families attend church together. Some children wait for Santa Claus to deliver gifts, while others expect Father Christmas. Those that celebrate Irish traditions will display a candle in the front window of their home to welcome Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus. It is also to welcome home our family and friends who are away. The youngest child in the family will light this large candle. Midnight mass is held, with parties and festive visits taking place after.
Christmas morning means that children can open their presents. Afterwards, they will sit down together to enjoy a big breakfast. Ham and eggs are usually served. Those that did not attend mass the night before will on December 25th.
On December 26th, those with English and Irish backgrounds will leave tips for postmen, grocers, newspaper carriers and other people to thank them for their help over the year.
The festive period in Australia ends on January 6th, with one last party held to see it off. Before this, New Year’s Eve is celebrated with dinners, dances and parties.