Australia Day オーストラリアデー

2014.01.26 (Sun)

By BaroBert (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

By BaroBert (own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons





Today, 26 January, is the Australia Day public holiday in Australia. From the name, you might think that it commemorates Australia’s founding or independence as a nation, but actually, it’s not. On this day in 1788, the “First Fleet” arrived from England at Botany Bay, and the colony of Australia began.

The truth is that there are more than a few people in Australia who think that we shouldn’t celebrate this occasion. Particularly in relation to Australia’s Indigenous people, there are those who call it “Invasion Day”. But as for a day that celebrates the nation of Australia, there aren’t many other options. Australia became an independent nation on 1 January 1901, but because this is New Year’s Day, our national celebration has ended up being on a more controversial day.

Anyway, even if is has a slightly odd foundation, Australia Day is a day for all Australians to celebrate our nation. It is a chance to think about what it means to be an “Australian”, what kind of identity that brings, and what kind of country we want Australia to be in the future. Because we are a nation with many immigrants, our identity as Australians is more abstract than tribal or racial identity.

Of course, it’s not all about deep philosophy. We also get together in parks or on the beach with our friends and family, and under the blue summer sky, play sports and have barbeques. Because this sort of thing is also big part of culture!


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