The culture of Australia is rich in both Indigenous and European tradition. Australians love to celebrate their heritage, and most major cities hold unique arts festivals with dance, outdoor music, cinema, food, and wine, at various points throughout the year. Generally, these festivals are completely free of charge, and offer an exciting way to experience the culture of Australia. The country also commemorates a set of national Australian holidays, many with their own celebrations.
National Australian Holidays
One holiday in Australia, observed June 8th to allow a break before winter, is the Queen's Birthday. Generally, schools and government offices will be closed on this day. Another day on which government buildings will likely be closed is January 26, Australia Day. Australia Day commemorates the first British settlement in Australia, in 1788. Today, major cities throughout the country celebrate Australia day with moderate parades, free food, and locally organized events. Sydney hosts a surf board paddle race beneath the Harbor Bridge, in which both amateurs and pros are equally welcome to participate.
One holiday in Australia celebrated both by Australian's, and their New Zealand neighbors alike is ANZAC Day, on April 25. ANZAC Day honors those who have died in wars, and most specifically troops who died fighting during the first World War. ANZAC stands for the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and travelers will find parades and ceremonies memorializing the Army Corps in most of Australia's major cities.
Culture of Australia
The modern culture of Australia combines both European tradition and Aboriginal legacy. While the impact of European settlers on the indigenous population of Australia was, for the most part, catastrophic, there are remaining arts and festivals celebrating Aboriginal life and culture. European settlers brought with them many food and lifestyle traditions, and the Australia of today is a combination of these influences, as well as current American influences. Australian holidays tend to reflect this mixture.
Festival and Events in Australia
There are a myriad of culture and art festivals throughout Australia. Most of these festivals are totally free of charge, and offer an international visitor the chance to experience some of the celebrations that are unique to Australia. The Sydney Festival features music, dance, and visual arts each January. The Perth International Arts Festival takes place every February, and offers a comprehensive mix of traditional dance performances and outdoor theatre. If you are looking to relax indoors, check out the Melbourne International Film Festival between July and August. More then 300 films are brought in each year from around the world, and is one of the most celebrated events in Australia.
No matter what time of the year you plan to visit, events in Australia abound. Since most of these events in Australia are free of charge, be sure to include at least one in your holiday in Australia.