What is Anzac Day? Well firstly ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Anzac Day commemorates the Australians and New Zealanders “who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations” and “the contribution and suffering of all those who have served.”
Originally Anzac Day was a day of remembrance for those that fought at Gallipoli during World War 1. It has since become a day to remember the soldiers, families and volunteers who have served their country (Australia / New Zealand) during any conflict.
Anzac Day always falls on 25th April every year.
Anzac Day Australia
In Australia the 25th of April is always a public holiday, if the 25th falls over the weekend then there is a public holiday on the Monday directly after.
In Australia many people congregate at RSL clubs – Returned and Services League, Australia (RSL) on Anzac Day and one strange thing (when you don’t know the history of why) is Anzac Day is the only day of the year in most states where you can play the gambling game ‘Two Up‘. Two Up is a traditional Australian gambling game played by ANZAC soldiers.
Australians are big fans of sport (of any type). In Australian Football (AFL) “The Anzac Medal is awarded to the player in the match who best exemplifies the Anzac spirit – skill, courage, self-sacrifice, teamwork and fair play”
Anzac Day New Zealand
In New Zealand Anzac Day is also a public holiday, however until 2003 if it fell at the weekend then there was no public holiday on the Monday ie… it was not a “Mondayised” public holiday. (Waitangi Day is also now a ‘Mondayised’ public holiday since the same bill was passed in 2003).
You’ll see lots of paper poppies on and around Anzac Day in NZ, these poppies are a symbol of remembrance which are handed out by members of the Returned Services Association.
In New Zealand shops are prohibited from opening until 1pm on the 25th April.
Although Australians and New Zealanders get a day off work, this is not a day for celebration, it’s a very solemn day with dawn services being held in various locations around both countries.