There’s not usually much going on in January and if you’re looking for something to celebrate, Australia’s national holiday is a good enough excuse as any for a party!
It takes place every year on 26th January and whether you’ve been to Australia, have relatives there, want to teach your kids about life down under or you just want to turn heads by having a barbecue in January, read on for our favourite Australia Day party ideas.
Why do Australians celebrate Australia Day?
Australia Day marks the arrival of the First Fleet of 11 British convict ships at Port Jackson, New South Wales, in 1788 and the raising of the Union Jack at Sydney Cove by its commander Captain Arthur Phillip. But it’s actually a fairly new public holiday down under.
It’s only been called Australia Day since 1935 and only since 1994 has it been celebrated as a public holiday in all states and territories. And despite its historical significance, nowadays it’s more a celebration of everything that’s great about Australia and being Australian.
What happens on Australia Day down under?
Australia Day is a huge celebration down under with firework displays, barbecues, parties, festivals and concerts taking place all over the country. Celebrations are held in towns and cities all over Australia and citizenship ceremonies also take place on this day – making it a particularly significant date for new citizens who can call themselves Australian for the first time.
In Sydney, the harbour is the focus of the celebrations with boat races taking place and in Adelaide there’s a parade, concert and firework display. And Perth is home to the ‘Perth Skyworks’ – a huge annual firework display and the largest organised event in the country.
On the eve of Australia Day, the Prime Minister also announces the winner of the Australian of the Year award – someone who has made a significant contribution to the nation – and the Order of Australia is given out to Australians who have made significant achievements.
How to celebrate Australia Day like an Aussie
While the Australian national holiday isn’t really celebrated in the UK, an Australia Day party is a great way for kids to learn about Australia and life down under. Take a look at our suggestions for a couple of fun ways to celebrate it.
Fly the Australian flag
Australia Day is a day of national pride and since the flag is the symbol of the nation, no Aussie party would be complete with the flag. Hang Australian flag bunting like this and larger cloth flags around the room for easy party decorations.
Dress up in Australian colours or as a famous Australian
This may not be an authentic Aussie tradition but dressing up as famous Australians is a great way to celebrate Australia Day and teach your kids about life down under. From Steve Irwin to Kylie Minogue, there are loads of iconic Australians to inspire your fancy dress costume.
Put up other Aussie themed decorations
You can really have fun with an Australian party theme – cutout signs featuring famous place names can be stuck on the walls, and yellow ‘kangaroo crossing’ tape can be draped across doors and windows.
And don’t forget boomerangs – they’re an Australian icon and cardboard cutouts like these can be stuck on the walls for a fun decoration. (These decorating ideas also work great for sporting events where you’re supporting the Aussies).
Eat Australian food
It’ll probably be too cold in January in the UK to fire up the barbie but if you’re brave and wrap up in warm clothes, it could be fun! Most people over here don’t realise that pavlovas orignated in Australia, so that’s dessert sorted too.
And if you’re throwing an Australia Day party for adults, we’ve been told on good authority that ‘cracking open a slab’ is an authentic way to celebrate (this is a carton of 24 beers).
Play Australian music
No Australia Day celebration is complete without a soundtrack of Australian music! Put together a playlist of your favourite Aussie hits in advance and if you’re feeling patriotic, include the national anthem Advance Australia Fair.
Are you throwing an Australia Day party this year? Head over to Party Delights to pick up all the Aussie themed decorations, props and costumes you need for an awesome party!