While Christmas in most parts of the Anglophone world is a winter festivity, with origins in celebrating the coming of spring, the holiday is celebrated a little differently in Australia.
In Australia, Christmas comes in the towards the beginning of the summer holidays because of the climate difference in the Southern Hemisphere. In fact, children begin their summer holidays in mid-December, while the rest of the world is wrapping up for the worst of the winter.
Many traditions, however, are the same as the rest of the world: Australians still hang wreaths, and decorate their houses and gardens with Christmas Trees and Christmas lights. However, Australians also also decorate their houses with bunches of ‘Christmas Bush’, a native Australian tree with small green leaves and cream coloured flowers.
As in other parts of the world, most families try to be home together for Christmas and the main meal is normally eaten at lunch time. Most people now have a cold Christmas dinner, or a barbecue with seafood such as prawns and lobsters along with the ‘traditional English’ food. On Christmas Eve, fish-markets are often full of people queuing to buy their fresh seafood for Christmas day.
Carol singing is also a huge part of Australian Christmas, and carol services are held in different cities across the country, which are then broadcast on TV. Schools sometimes also hold their own carol services, with local bands and choirs sometimes helping to perform the Christmas Carols and songs. Because many songs are have lyrics about snow and winter, sometimes the carols are changed to reflect what the weather is like in Australia instead.
Many towns and cities also have festivals and parades, and in some cities hold fireworks displays in local parks. On Boxing Day – the 26th of December – most people visit friends and have barbecues on the beach. Every year, a famous yacht race also takes place from Sydney to Hobart in Tasmania, hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia. This is also a huge event, and is broadcast live on TV.