This year it falls on Thursday. To most Australians it is regarded as our country's birthday, it is a Public Holiday and many will add in Friday and possibly next Monday and make it the "Last Hurrah" of the Christmas/New Year festive season before the country gets back to normal (until Easter holidays, that is!)
Australia Day (previously known as Anniversary Day, Foundation Day, and ANA Day) is the official national day of Australia. Celebrated annually on 26 January, the date commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove in 1788 and the proclamation at that time of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of New Holland.
Although it was not known as Australia Day until over a century later, records of celebrations on 26 January date back to 1808, with the first official celebration of the formation of New South Wales held in 1818. It is presently an official public holiday in every state and territory of Australia and is marked by the presentation of the Australian of the Year Awards on Australia Day Eve, announcement of the Honours List for the Order of Australia and addresses from the Governor-General and Prime Minister. With community festivals, concerts and citizenship ceremonies the day is celebrated in large and small communities and cities around the nation. Australia Day has become the biggest annual civic event in Australia.
The date is controversial to some Australians, particularly those of Indigenous heritage, leading to the use of alternate names, such as Invasion Day and Survival Day. Proposals have been made to change the date of Australia Day, but these have failed to gain widespread public support.
Most Australians - ourselves included - will 'fly the flag' for Thursday. In fact our flag was pinned to our front verandah this morning. Tomorrow there will be a 'Breakfast in the Park' run by the local Lions Club. We will have a visit from a government nominated prominent Australian as our own Australia Day Ambassador, citizenships will be endowed on migrants applying to become naturalised Australians and there will be many other festivities - e.g. a "Dive In" at the local swimming pool tomorrow afternoon and evening where movies will be shown (kids movie in the afternoon and a family movie in the evening) and the local supermarkets will have promotions and give-aways - Woolworths are holding a 'Gold Coin' donation sausage sizzle with all proceeds going to Can-Teen , the charity that supports teenagers with cancer.
Many households will have a barbecue and, of course, there is a cricket Test in progress between Australia and India in Adelaide, South Australia, so 'backyard cricket games' will also be the go as the TV's show the real game live and the steaks are sizzling on the barbecue and a few "frothy chops" (beers) are consumed!
So, Let the fun begin!