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Weird Things about Christmas in Australia

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Ok, so if you’ve just experienced your first Christmas in the “land down under”, you might have noticed a bit of a contrast to your own traditional Christmas. For me, a cold and cosy Christmas in the depths of winter in Ireland is a stark difference to the Christmas experience in Australia. Although you might miss your usual yuletide traditions, my best advice is to embrace the weird and wonderful customs that will no doubt become evident when spending Christmas in a foreign country. So on that note, let’s delve into 5 weird things about Christmas in Australia.

The HEAT

For those of us who hail from the north of the equator and are used to a frosty festive season, one very strange thing about a Christmas in Australia, is the weather. In most parts of Australia around the festive period you’ll feel the temperature start to rise! So by Christmas Day, instead of wrapping yourself in multiple layers of clothing in an attempt to stay warm, you will find yourself legging it to the beach in a desperate attempt to stay cool!

Christmas Attire

If you’re spending Christmas in sunny Australia, tell Mammy there is no need to send over the trusty, ugly Christmas jumper! I know, you are just dying to wear it but once you feel that heat, you’ll be trolling the shops for a red swimsuit or a festive ‘singlet’ to display your Christmas spirit instead!

Venue

For me and for a lot of you who spend Christmas in a colder (and wetter) climate, Christmas Day is spent indoors, which usually involves a roaring fire and being wrapped in a cosy blanket! Well you can forget about that for an Aussie Christmas. The beach, the park, the pool are just a few of the outdoor venues where many Australians spend their Christmas Day. You can look forward to a day of festive fun outside, enjoying the sunshine, splashing in the water and feeling the sand between your toes!

Food

The main event of an Irish Christmas, Christmas dinner! Turkey and ham, roast potatoes, stuffing, gravy... all the trimmings! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. But if you are spending Christmas in Australia, a traditional Christmas Day lunch is not on the cards. With a spread of salads, cold meats, cherries and not to forget the BBQ prawns, Aussie’s embrace a Christmas of cold foods (I know, odd right?). In all fairness, a big roast dinner is hard to stomach once the thermometer climbs into the thirties so you’ll be thankful of your chilly feast come Christmas Day!

Traditions

Australians have many Christmas traditions. In Ireland, for my family, we play board games, swap gifts and watch old home videos! (Yes, all inside activities). In Australia, you are most likely to find people playing friendly games of cricket on the quiet streets in the suburbs or surfers taking to the waves wearing Santa hats. (If you go to the beach on Christmas Day I can almost guarantee that you will see a surfer wearing a Santa hat). One big similarity actually is that many Irish hold a tradition of jumping into the freezing cold sea on Christmas morning in aid of charity or just for the sheer adrenaline of it. Australians do this too, but I somehow feel it wouldn’t give you the same sense of achievement as it would at home considering a bit of a difference in temperature!! Although Christmas in Australia may be different to your traditional Christmas experience in the UK or Ireland, it still has the same focal point that most cultures who celebrate Christmas have. It is about being surrounded by people and helping others, whether it be with family, friends or people you have just met sharing the experience of being away from loved ones during the holidays. So wherever you might be in the world next Christmas, whether it is spending it with your friends and family or spending it on your own, experiencing another culture’s traditions, embrace it, remember it and treasure it. It’s all part of the travel experience!

By Amy O’Riordan

 

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