Australians are a patriotic bunch, but rather than over the top celebrations on our National Day, like the Americans, we instead tend to celebrate in our own true blue, understated way. Australia Day is about sun, sand, BBQs, beers, counting down the Hottest 100 (and no Taylor Swift fans, we’re not hashtagging #tay4hottest100 to get her in it) and a splash with our mates, usually wearing a tacky Australian flag-emblazoned t-shirt or hat.
But much more than that, it’s a time where we celebrate our great nation with family and friends, and a time to feel a sense of pride in who we are as a country and how far we’ve all come.
At this time of year parents are getting nostalgic about the summer that’s gone (while quietly counting the days until the kids go back to school), while for our kids “‘Straya Day” celebrations signify the beginning of the end of Summer holidays. A time when the late evenings playing cricket in the backyard or grabbing that last swim in the surf before dinner begin to dwindle.
There are no kids anywhere in the world like Australian kids.
Our kids are Vegemite eating, thong wearing, salty haired, sandy skinned and brown legged, smiling from ear to ear and enjoying the last long summer days before back to school shopping signals the end of their freedom.
For kids, this time of year is all about sun, salt, chlorine, sunscreen and icecream, tainted only by the pungency of Aeroguard. It’s when packing for a holiday is simple – a few pairs of ‘togs’ or ‘cossies’ and maybe a t-shirt or two.
It’s running under the hose or sprinkler in your underwear, and the slip and slide in the backyard.
It’s Mum calling you in for dinner time after time, but you’re having way too much fun to eat. Then you finally run inside breathless and slightly sunburnt, only to crash out in bed still with sand on your feet.
It’s backyard cricket and beach days, grabbing a bucket and spade, building a sandcastle and riding waves until you can’t drink anymore salt water.
It’s Paddle Pops, Fandangles and Icy Poles at the beach. It’s running across the sand or road fast so your feet don’t get too burnt. It’s not bothering with shoes, and sausages on the BBQ for dinner.
On Australia Day they wave an Aussie flag, and sing the anthem next to their mate.
Australia Day is a time to come together. To rejoice in our history, our sunburnt country, our blue skies and golden beaches, our freedom, our many cultures and our luck to live in such an amazing place.
Enjoy your Australia Day!