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April 25, 2006 


Today is Anzac Day here (and in NZ too!). To quote from this very informative site,

ANZAC Day - 25 April - is probably Australia's most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
It goes on to talk about the Gallipolli campaign, 25th April being the day the troops landed there. Over 8,000 Australian soldiers were killed, and many here believe that the action started the beginning of Australia as it is today. I've done a lot of reading since deciding to come over here, and among the things that always comes through is the importance of Gallipolli. It started the doors opening into Australia, as they realised that to cope with any perceived threat, people, and quantities of them, were very important.

I guess, in a roundabout way, if it wasn't for what happened today, I might not be sitting here, in Melbourne, now. For Australians ANZAC day is incredibly important. It's not like the 4th July in the USA - there's no big parties or fireworks. It's closer to Remembrance Sunday in the UK - but the day is sacred, and the public holiday is never moved off it (and they actually get a public holiday!). The most important thing is the dawn services. There was one near us, and even one on a beach in Gallipolli. There's a special service format approved for ANZAC day. All the ex-servicemen parade (then go to the pub to reminisce).

It's a fascinating day. For me, though, the thing that marks the difference between the UK and here is that in the UK you buy a poppy to show your support. Here you buy and Anzac cookie. A much better idea - you can buy the cookies all year round!

Indeed Anzac biscuits are rather yummy. Hmm haven't made any in a while ... maybe a batch is due soon.
I have to say I found the dawn ceremony I attended as part of a NZ Guiders Conference in'03 a different but moving service, mostly remembered for the birdsong during the outdoor service in Christchurch's Cathedral Square.

That's intersting, what is the cookie supposed to symbolise?

visit my blog for a bit more on Anzac day:


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