Australians celebrate Christmas in July

Christmas "Down Under"


Christmas is very different under the Southern Cross. It falls in the middle of midsummer. European Advent traditions mix with a Mediterranean-summer party atmosphere. Santa Claus sometimes comes here in shorts and is accompanied by wombat, koala and kangaroo - in the middle of the summer holidays. We have put together a few facets of the Australian Christmas for you.

We would like to thank our user Bernhard Kuhn for the picture of Santa with kangaroos from Hervey Bay.



In Australia these are usually lukewarm days in early summer when the children help to decorate the Christmas tree. The trees are also often sold by the local Lions Club. What reminds Central Europeans most of Christmas trees are the huge Norfolk Pines that are often planted in parks. Around Christmas time, the Allen trees get colorful fairy lights. At home in the wooden houses there are often plastic trees with fairy lights. In some places, according to American tradition, a competition for the most beautiful house decoration has developed. Shortly before Christmas, the daily newspapers publish pictures of the light decorations of selected houses and real hiking maps, after which you can visit the spruced up houses and gardens. If you want to make it "true to style" in American style, you should of course drive to the houses and not wander to them ...



Strange: the department stores are decorated according to European models. In Melbourne, for example, the Myers department store is so famous for its lavish Christmas decorations (mostly with animated fairy tales) that the Victorians travel from far and wide to look at the shop windows. Queues often form in front of the windows. Garlands hang in the streets of the cities. However, the colored lights sometimes appear strangely pale in the glaring sunlight. The depiction of sleighs with reindeer or snow-covered white forests seem like they are from another world. Sweating Santa Clauses in red suits and caps distribute sweets to the children. Christmas carols trickle from the speakers.

The house owners are engaging in a different kind of competition: Following the American model, houses are often illuminated for Christmas with dozen of fairy lights. Route plans are then printed in the local newspapers on how to get to the most spectacular illuminations, and pictures of the most lavishly or particularly unusual decorated houses can be found on the Internet.

Tip for those yearning for Christmas: Over 700 houses and shops in Lobethal in the Adelaide Hills shine in full light at Christmas time. The festive Christmas lighting has been a tradition for many years and has made the place, which is about 30 kilometers from the capital of South Australia, known and popular. The Christmas spirit is complete with a nativity play, Christmas trees and small local markets with Christmas stalls in the historic city center. There will also be a colorful Christmas parade on December 23rd.

"Lights of Lobethal" website

During the Advent season, the East Shard building on Melbourne Federation Square is transformed into a giant advent calendar. A new door is opened at 9 p.m. each time. The event is framed by a 20-minute multimedia show. From December 4th, a choir will perform every evening between 6 and 7 p.m. Christmas carols in a wide variety of styles such as gospel, jazz or a cappella.

Federation Square Center website

It is celebrated outdoors - also because of the heat, mostly on the beach. The world famous regatta from Sydney to Hobart starts on Christmas Day. For many the highlight of the year.



Around December 24th is usually the greatest heat. Australia is in the middle of summer. Temperatures around 35 degrees Celsius are in Adelaide, Melbourne, Perth or Sydney. Alice Springs is 10 degrees hotter and in the far north, e.g. in Cairns or Darwin, it is now the rainy season.



Many Europeans who have emigrated try to celebrate Christmas customs from their homeland in Australia as well. And since at least in 2000 Aldi conquered the Australian food market, it is no longer difficult to get gingerbread. With the emigrants, the Advent tea with home-baked cookies is even more popular than the goods from the supermarket. For visitors from Central Europe, on the other hand, the cake with fresh strawberries on the Advent wreath is a clear signal that the seasons in Australia have been shifted by half a year.

The "Carols by Candlelight" are the most atmospheric. The Australians gather to sing Christmas carols by candlelight. The custom originated in Melbourne in 1938. Hundreds of thousands pilgrimage to these events in Sydney (Darling Harbor), Melbourne (Kings Domain) and other cities, buy a candle and sit with a picnic blanket on the lawn, which is still warm from the sun, to join symphony orchestras, famous singing stars and choirs singing old Christmas carols. And if you don't know the English lyrics, just sing them in your mother tongue.
Adelaide: Carols by Candlelight
Melbourne: Carols by Candlelight
Sydney: Carols in the Domain

These events also take place in many places before the actual Christmas holidays. These small events have a special charm because you can come into contact with the locals very quickly. In Katherine, a classic horse and float parade parades through town.



Usually it comes in a very traditional way in Australia. But on Sydney's surfing beaches he wears red bathing trunks and a long white nylon beard to give presents and comes on water skis to give presents. The best time to watch something like this is the last Sunday before Christmas. In Alice Springs he rides up to camel in the village to bring the children.

The German immigrants have a large share in the popularity of the Christmas tree. He has supplanted the traditional mistletoe. However, the fir is usually a plastic structure that has to be taken apart after use.



On the evening of December 24th, many families have the traditional roast turkey and the calorie bomb plum pudding on the table. Gradually, however, these traditions from "Merry Old England" are being superseded by a light fish meal. Crustaceans are also extremely popular. In the days leading up to Christmas Eve, for example, the fish market in Sydney is open around the clock.

On the first holiday, people like to have a picnic outdoors, ideally on the beach. Popular ingredients here are of course "something to grill" as well as fresh, green asparagus and strawberries for dessert. To have a bit of a Christmas atmosphere, some families bring inflatable Christmas trees. For the children, the family picnic is the opportunity to try out the presents - for example the surfboard, fins or swimming goggles. Papa and Mama usually watch the lively goings-on and get another part of the "six-course menu" (a six pack of ice-cold beer) from the esky (the cool box).



According to English tradition, the gifts are given on the morning of December 25th. Australian children are mostly told that Santa Claus comes down the chimney on the night of December 24th to 25th.



On Boxing Day, many families go on their summer vacation, which many Australians take until the national holiday one month later on January 26th. Those who can avoid having to drive further distances on Boxing Day, of all places. There is an unusual crowd on the streets, especially on the arterial routes from the big cities. Traditionally, the police also step up their traffic controls in the period between the years.



In the Styx Forest in Tasmania on December 20, 1999, an 80m high Eucalyptus Regnans was decorated by environmentalists as the largest Christmas tree in the world. With 3,000 lights, "The Wilderness Society" wanted to draw attention to the threat to the Tasmanian primeval forests.



There is cold and snow in the Australian Alps between June and September. That's why some Australians celebrate with a fireplace and mulled wine in the snow on June 25th or the beginning of July. Popular places for this are the Blue Mountains, the Snowy Mountains, especially Thredbo and the Victorian Alps.



Example of an "Aussie Christmas Song" - Aussie version for "Jingle Bells ..."

"Dashing through the bush,
in a rusty Holden Ute,
Kicking up the dust,
esky in the boot,
Kelpie by my side,
singing Christmas songs,
It's summer time and I am in
my singlet, shorts and thongs

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut !,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Engine's getting hot;
we dodge the kangaroos,
The swaggie climbs aboard,
he is welcome too.
All the family's there,
sitting by the pool,
Christmas Day the Aussie way,
by the barbecue.

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut !,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.

Come the afternoon,
Grandpa has a doze,
The kids and Uncle Bruce,
are swimming in their clothes.
The time comes' round to go,
we take the family snap,
Pack the car and all shoot through,
before the washing up.

Oh! Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way,
Christmas in Australia on a scorching summers day, Hey!
Jingle bells, jingle bells, Christmas time is beaut !,
Oh what fun it is to ride in a rusty Holden Ute.



The motif of a place where you can celebrate "White Christmas" in a completely different way: Cable Beach near Broome - the motif of the Christmas card from Tourism Western Australia 2005 ...
The Tourist Office of Western Australia continued the motifs of the "Australian Christmas Variations" in 2006. "Australian Christmas tree balls" were presented - they are the fruit stands of a boab, a bottle tree from the Kimberley region.

And what do the Aussies do on New Year's Eve?

 


 
 
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