Australian national public holidays 2020
|New Year's Day||Wednesday, 1 January|
|Australia Day||Monday, 27 January|
|Good Friday||Friday, 10 April|
|Easter Saturday||Saturday, 11 April|
|Easter Sunday||Sunday, 12 April|
|Easter Monday||Monday, 13 April|
|ANZAC Day||Saturday, 25 April|
|Christmas Day||Friday, 25 December|
|Boxing Day||Saturday, 26 December|
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National public holidays in detail
New Year’s Day - Wednesday 1st Jan
New Year’s is one of the most popular national public holidays in Australia. The holiday celebrates the first day of the modern Gregorian calendar, used by Australia and the majority of the Western World. Australia is one of the first countries to celebrate the New Year, given its proximity to the International Date Line.
In Australia, New Years is heralded by firework displays in all major cities and countdowns till midnight form the basis of the previous night’s boisterous celebrations. While New Year’s Eve is not itself a public holiday, parties and events are held for people to see off the old year in style and welcome in the new with friends and family. New Year’s Day is often used as a day of rest and relaxation across the country.
Australia Day - Sunday 26th Jan
Australia Day is the official national public holiday of Australia. Many Australians see it as a day to celebrate what it means to be Australian, and acknowledging the contribution each person makes to our nation, past and present.
The day has evolved over the years from celebrating the landing of the convict ships in Sydney Harbour in 1788, to standing as a time to recognise and celebrate the cultural diversity of the nation and acknowledge the first peoples of Australia.
It is also one of the most popular days to become an Australian citizen, with over 16,000 new Australians from over 150 countries welcomed each year.
The Easter long weekend is one of the most popular public holidays of the year with people often taking the four days as an opportunity for a mini-break from work and school. As Easter usually falls within the first months of autumn, the holiday is often celebrated with outdoor activities to make the most of the warmer temperatures.
The Easter period has special importance for those of the Christian faith, as it represents the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. On Easter Sunday many people partake in Easter egg hunts or give them as gifts to family and friends. The chocolate eggs are an ancient symbol of rebirth and new life, and are given out to children by the Easter Bunny, or the Easter Bilby in Australia.
Anzac Day - Saturday 25th April
Anzac Day is commemorated on the anniversary of the landing of the troops on Gallipoli in 1915, marking the first large-scale military action undertaken by Australian and New Zealand forces in the First World War. Anzac Day has been celebrated as a day of national remembrance since 1920 and observed as a public holiday since 1927, in an effort to celebrate the troops who have fought and died in Australian and New Zealand service.
Commemorative services are held at dawn at war memorials across the country, while marches are held throughout the day for former and current service men and women. The day is also a time to reflect on the courage, mateship and sacrifice undertaken by the Australian and New Zealand troops.
Christmas Day - Friday 25th December
Christmas Day is celebrated on the 25th of December as both a religious and cultural occasion. It commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ, which is estimated to have been sometime between 2 and 7 BC. Christmas celebrations incorporate many traditions that are both religious and secular, the latter of which are celebrated all over the world.
Santa Claus plays a large role in the tradition of exchanging gifts, which has become more commercialised since the 20th century. While Christmas is traditionally thought of as a winter holiday, Australians living in the southern hemisphere celebrate it in the middle of summer and as such, traditional Christmas foods like roasts are often foregone for cold meats and seafood platters.
Boxing Day - Saturday 26th December
Originating in the UK, Boxing Day is celebrated on the day after Christmas in most of the nations belonging to the Commonwealth. The origin of the name of Boxing Day is uncertain, although a popular theory is that it is based on the tradition of “Christmas Boxes”, which were given to servants on their day off after Christmas, to thank them for their hard work during the year.
Today, Boxing Day is a day for relaxation and enjoyment. Popular activities include watching sporting events such as the Test cricket matches are held against teams from other countries. It is also the start of the biggest sale period of the year in retail, with large discounts to be found from Boxing Day onwards.
Labour Day is the annual celebration of the modern eight hour working day, implemented in the 19th century. Prior to the 19th century, most labourers worked from ten to twelve hours up to six days a week. The public holiday recognises the workers who struggled to improve the working conditions for all Australians. Labour Day advocates for the equal division of the twenty-four hours in a day into three parts, eight hours for work, recreation and rest respectively. Labour Day is held on different days according to each state but is always held on a Monday, forming a long weekend every year.
The Queen’s Birthday is a public holiday celebrated in all Australian states and territories as the English monarch is still recognised at the head of state. While it is celebrated on different days depending on the state, it is always held on a Monday, forming a long weekend every year. Queen Elizabeth is the current monarch, she was born on the 21st of April 1926, making her the longest serving monarch to date. While Elizabeth may have been born in April, the holiday is usually held on the 11th of June which is considered to be her official birthday. Western Australia hold the holiday on the 24th of September and Queensland hold it on the 1st of October.
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