Last year, for over half a year I was in the practice of writing company-wide e-mails, bothering everyone at Mozilla, about why I wouldn’t be at work the next day due to a public holiday. It started with the most hilarious holiday the "Friday before the AFL grand final public holiday" (remind me this September, and I’ll explain) and finished after we got into some much less fun holidays such as invasion day (Jan 26th).
I remembered this recently and felt like sharing what I wrote for Christmas last year. Pretending that Christmas is something celebrated only in Australia and I had to explain it to the rest of the world, I wrote:
Australia will be celebrating two very significant local holidays this December 25th and 26th.
25th of December: Christmas Day.
On Christmas Day we celebrate the birth of Sir Isaac Newton, he is gracious enough to share his birthday with Jesus Christ (who is significant to many Australians, but not myself, so this e-mail will be mostly-secular).
The day begins with coffee (like every day) followed by gift-giving. Santa aka Father Christmas brings gifts for the children. Santa comes from the North Pole where it is winter all the time. In Australia it is summertime and there is no snow on the ground for his sleigh to work properly, so instead he rides on a firetruck. Also due to the heat Santa perspires a lot and needs to replace those fluids quickly, so it isn’t unusual to see Santa quickly drink a beer underneath his beard. The beard helps to conceal this from the children.
The main feast is called Christmas Lunch, it can consist of ham, roast chicken, roast pork and roast veggies or salads. Sometimes BBQd or boiled prawns are also served, I prefer boiled. No we don’t "throw another shrimp on the barbie" they’re called prawns. The meats are often served cold with salads since the weather is warm. If the weather is cold then serving them warm with roast veggies is also normal.
In our family and I gather in many others the afternoon is spent napping or with quiet activities like reading or board games. Children will often watch a film, many of the films feature cold weather and winter iconography.
December 26th: Boxing Day
This holiday is called Boxing Day after the Boxing Day test cricket match. We send our greatest champions out into 35-40c heat to play cricket against the champions of another nation with hot weather. Such as New Zealand, South Africa, West Indies, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. We also let England and Ireland play even though they don’t have hot weather, but they did invent the game so we invite them anyway.
The cricket match can last up to 5 days. And although our champions have to spend this time in the hot weather. I believe this is really to the benefit of the spectators in their air-conditioned homes. They are socially permitted to watch sports for 5 days while drinking beer.
January 1st: New years day.
This is also a public holiday, but I got bored and didn’t write anything for it.
I hope you enjoy your local holidays, if you have them, otherwise enjoy your not-holidays.