December 28, 2023

How is Christmas celebrated in Australia ?


What are the Christmas traditions in Australia? We’re going to explain everything in this blog !

In Australia, December 25 falls right in the middle of summer, with temperatures around 30°C. It’s a significant change of atmosphere for those accustomed to the cold and snow for Christmas. Australians try to capture the Christmas vibe by decorating the country about a month in advance. You’ll find Santa Claus, Christmas trees, garlands, and artificial snowmen decorations throughout the city.

However, some locals, longing for a white Christmas, aren’t convinced. So, they’ve decided to celebrate Christmas in July, which coincides with the coldest period in Australia. This tradition isn’t recent or unique to Australia; it has its roots in the United States and is also observed in New Zealand and South Africa, without a specific date.

December 25th in Australia is marked by the closure of all offices and shops, as it is a public holiday. Across the country, Christmas Day provides an opportunity for Australians to gather for a festive lunch. Children unwrap their presents early in the morning, then put on their swimsuits. As the temperatures are often high on that day, the festivities unfold at the beach or by the pool. Beers and barbecue grills are highly popular, extending the celebrations until nightfall.

A tradition inherited from England, Australians crack Christmas Crackers & Bonbons. Shaped like a cracker, these small paper packages are cracked open during the meal, revealing a joke or riddle, a small trinket, and a paper crown.

The churches in the country play a crucial role on one of the most important days in the Christian calendar, with the faithful gathering for the midnight mass, commemorating the birth of Christ.

Carols by Candlelight

Christmas choirs, rooted in Australian culture since 1937 in Melbourne, began with the touching initiative of Norman Banks, a young radio host. Inspired by an old woman listening alone to a Christmas carol on the radio, Banks organized a public event the following year, bringing together over ten thousand people at Alexandra Gardens with candles. The success led to a global export of the concept, and now, every Australian city organizes Carols by Candlelight concerts in December. The most significant one usually takes place on December 24 in Melbourne at Sidney Myer Music Bowl, organized by the charity Vision Australia. This tradition, disrupted this year by the coronavirus, still persists.

Boxing Day, the day after Christmas

Boxing Day, celebrated on December 26, is a significant public holiday in Australia, England, New Zealand, South Africa, and
Canada. Originally, this day allowed artisans and merchants to rest while domestics received gifts by visiting homes. Currently, Boxing Day is well-known for great deals, with stores offering attractive discounts, following the Black Friday model in the United States. Australians also spend part of their December 26th watching television. Highlights include the Boxing Day Test Match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, where the Australian national cricket team competes. Additionally, sailing enthusiasts gather at Port Jackson, Sydney, to witness the start of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race.

Christmas Eve on December 24 is not typically celebrated in Australia. The day is often dedicated to preparations for the next day, gatherings with friends over a drink, or finalizing purchases, with some shopping centers and major retailers remaining open until midnight.