Christmas in Australia

People of Australia love to send Christmas cards. Each year they send more than 100 million of them. The first Australian Christmas card was made in 1881 by John Sands.

In Australia Christmas is celebrated in the summer. There is no snow which many in the northern hemisphere closely relate to Christmas. That is why some Christmas carols we know have been changed a bit. When Santa arrives to Australia he leaves his reindeers and changes them for kangaroos or "six white boomers". Boomer or an "old man" is a popular name for a male kangaroo. Santa also changes his warm clothes for something more suitable. There is an Australian Christmas song about it called "Six white boomers". Some of other Australian Christmas carols are "The Three Drovers", "Aussie Jingle Bells" and "Australian Twelve Days of Christmas".

One of the most popular Australian Christmas traditions is Carols by Candlelight. This tradition was started in 1938 by Norman Banks, who was then a radio presenter at Melbourne's radio channel 3KZ. People get together in parks and sing Christmas carols by candlelight. The most famous Carols by Candlelight event is held in the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Money collected from donations, tickets and candle sales is given to Vision Australia, which is Australia's largest provider of services for people with blindness and low vision.

New South Wales Christmas Bush
New South Wales Christmas Bush

In Australia people hang Christmas wreaths on their front doors. Christmas trees and lights are also regular part of Christmas in Australia. Neighbours sometimes compete whose house has been decorated in more spectacular way. In parts of Australia people decorate their houses with the New South Wales Christmas Bush (Ceratopetalum gummiferum). This shrub has flowers that turn bright red-pink just around Christmas.

Pavlova
Pavlova

Australian Christmas meal includes many dishes. Considering the hot weather during Christmas season in Australia people prepare the appropriate food like cold turkey, ham, different seafood. Christmas plum pudding, meringue cake Pavlova or "Pav" and many other delicacies are also served. Big public celebration of Christmas in Sidney is held on Bondi Beach. Up to 40,000 people gather there for the occasion. On the Boxing Day, which is on the 26th of December, people visit their friends, have a barbecue etc. The Boxing Day is also known for the Yacht race from Sydney to Hobart, Tasmania.

Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race
Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race

Dreamtime of the Australian Indigenous people does not include Christmas. Christmas time coincide with some important events in the life of certain Indigenous communities. For example, Yolngu people who live in Arnhem Land, Northern Territory in the late December observe "Gudjewg" or the wet season. Gudjewg is the last of their six seasonal cycles. Indigenous communities which accepted Christianity combine their own traditions and Christianity. Good example is the Ntaria Choir of Hermannsburg, Northern Territory.