I feel sorry for the New Yorkers who might wonder why the Empire State Building is doing strange things. Green and gold? Huh? Well, if you missed it on the news, the city of New York, not for the first time, lights up the Empire State Building in Australia's national colours* as Down Under it is Australia Day.
|'King Kong's got nothin' on me! I'm Wolverine!!'|
|Why wouldn't Julie Bishop be grinning from ear to ear?|
There was a small window between tennis matches as the Australian Open is slogging its way across three channels, so I had a peek at the news last night between matches and I saw a very pretty sight as the lever was pulled--the flashing green and gold looked bright and breezy, Julie Bishop, our indefatigable Foreign Minister looked cool as a cucumber in her cream coat, but who could outshine that Aussie hunk Hugh Jackman, aka Wolverine, who was indeed a pretty sight...but hey, back to Nadal!!
As a little aside, Hugh Jackman told the American audience that out of a country of 20,000,000, there are 1,000,000 Aussies who visit New York each year (travelling is an Aussie pastime) and most of them end up on his couch. Always up for a bit of a wisecrack, but that sounded about right when it comes to Aussie hospitality. Who wouldn't mind ending up on Hugh's couch?
So, every country has its special day. What is Australia Day? We are definitely not the world's greatest patriots, but we love our country, fair enuff...Well, we are the country of the LONG WEEKEND, so that's a lot to love, but our special day is more than just an excuse to crack open the barbie and the beer and throw on the prawns and snags (sausages, bangers, whatever...) and dodge the sizzling fat in the sizzling heat. And smirk when you see that Australia still practises segregation--only men allowed at the cooking source!
With a little help from Wikipedia, and to satisfy the insatiable curiosity of Hilary Melton-Butcher, I can tell you that Australia Day is the official national day of Australia celebrated on January 26 to mark the anniversary of the 1788 arrival of the First Fleet of British ships at Port Jackson (Sydney) in New South Wales. (Australia was then known as New Holland). Of course, not everyone was happy to see white Europeans arrive. Our indigenous people call it 'Invasion Day'. There's a great cartoon depicting Australian Aborigines watching the First Fleet arrive, saying 'I've got a bad feeling about this.'
In modern Australia, the celebrations over the long weekend reflect our diverse society and the landscape of our nation. There is a frenzy of street parties, community events, community awards and citizenship ceremonies welcoming new immigrants into the community. If you saw Hugh Jackman on television as he turned on the lights of the ESB, he said that his wife was up for the highest award Australia gives--the Australian of the Year award, for her charity work.
- How about you? How's your year shaping up?
- What is your country's national celebration?