Wednesday, April 25th is ANZAC Day (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps). It’s a public holiday dedicated to the anniversary of the WWI troop landing in Gallipoli in 1915, which was the first time that the ANZACs had fought a major military campaign together. After subsequent wars, the day became a way to honor all the people who fought or served for their countries. It’s also an identity thing about the meaning and spirit of being an Aussie; it occurred just 14 years after Australia’s states joined together to become a country.
It’s sort of like Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day in the US, but people take it a bit more seriously or sacredly than I think the average American does. People wear sprigs of rosemary pinned to their lapels for remembrance today. This is even more meaningful because rosemary was found growing wild on the fields of Gallipoli where so many lives were lost.
Today they have parades, a dawn commemorative service, other services throughout the day (we drove past a few crowds, probably gathering at local war memorials in the little towns we passed) and… there are football and rugby games? But they’re not a part of the tradition the way that football is on Thanksgiving in the US. After the services and parades, people tend to go to the pubs and reminisce and gather and drink together. Which seems like a nice show of camaraderie to me. Plus, this is the time of year that you get to eat delicious ANZAC biscuits!