Today is Australia Day in Australia! Australia Day is an annual national holiday celebrated each year on January 26th. It marks the day in 1788 when the first fleet of British ships arrived at Sydney Cove and is celebrated around the country with parades, fireworks, and other festivities. But what else do you know about this special day? Let’s explore six fun facts about Australia Day and why it is such an important part of Australian culture.
1. It wasn’t always called “Australia Day”
The holiday was originally called “Foundation Day” in New South Wales, which was the first area of Australia colonized by the British. It wasn’t until 1935 that all states and territories adopted the name “Australia Day” for this holiday.
2. The date is contentious
The date for Australia Day has been a contentious issue for many years because Indigenous Australians view it as a reminder of their dispossession from their ancestral lands. In recent years, there have been calls to change the date to a more inclusive one that acknowledges the long history of Indigenous Australians on this continent before colonization.
3. Australians celebrate in a variety of ways
Australia Day is celebrated in different ways across the country but some popular traditions include barbecues, beach picnics, and fireworks displays. The most famous celebration occurs annually in Sydney Harbour where up to 1 million people gather to watch a spectacular fireworks display over the iconic Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge!
4. Look out for the Australian Flag
The Australian flag is flown proudly on this day throughout all public buildings and residences across the country as a sign of national pride and unity amongst all Australians regardless of race or religion.
5. It’s a time to celebrate outstanding Australians
Since 1994, awards known as “Australian of the Year Awards” have been presented annually on Australia Day to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to society or their field of work during the previous calendar year. It serves as an opportunity for ordinary Australians to be recognized for their extraordinary achievements!
6. It’s when Australians celebrate their diverse country
Despite its controversial origins, Australia Day is now widely regarded as a time for celebrating diversity, multiculturalism, and national pride amongst all citizens regardless of their background or beliefs!
Take some time today out to reflect on these six fun facts about Australia Day and celebrate what makes our great nation so unique—our diversity! Whether you choose to mark this day with friends or family at a local event or just spend some quiet time reflecting on how lucky we are to call ourselves Aussies—try make sure you get involved in celebrating our wonderful nation however you can! Happy Australia Day everyone!
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.