Australia Day is a celebration that focuses on the idea of national identity and pride. Australia Day can be considered a celebration primarily because there is a time established every year to celebrate this holiday and there are many symbolic elements encompassed in this event (Turner, 1982). This holiday's celebration has great significance in Australia . It is observed nation wide and is vital in expressing the countries cultural ideals of patriotism and pride in their country. Great significance is placed on these two important characteristics, patriotism and pride. They both essentially are one's complete love and devotion to their country.

The main components of symbolism are patriotic. Heavan (1985) observed the working classes of Sydney suburbs and discovered there was little correlation between patriotism and racial attitudes; therefore, it is not uncommon to find an abundance of the nation's flags and aboriginal flags in all localities on January 26. The nation's flag is a key symbolic element that portrays the main purpose of Australia Day. The main purpose of Australia Day is to establish unity between all the people. The Aboriginal flag is also appreciated demonstrating the historical aspects of this nation. Flag raising ceremonies are important events that are always entailed in the schedule for Australia Day. This event is crucial in the demonstration of great pride and patriotism.

Another key component of symbolism is the national anthem, “Advance National Fair”. Although admired year round, the anthems value and purpose is accentuated on this day. The patriotism of this country can be seen in the opening line of the anthem: Australians all let us rejoice, for we are young and free (Celebrate What's Great). The anthem entails great detail about the pride they have in their land and people. It demonstrates a sense of pride and appreciation of the land they are blessed with. The anthem describes the land as having great beauty that is rich and rare; in essence, their nation is blessed with many of nature's gifts. They utilize this anthem to continuously remind the people of the greatness of their country. Australia day is essential to take this nationally known anthem and appreciate the meaning and purpose of its words. The anthem is necessary on Australia Day to focus on the patriotic aspects of the country. The playing of the anthem and the appreciation of the nation's flag on Australia Day are key components to this celebration. This celebration, like many celebrations world wide, demonstrate the importance of symbolic usage and the force that festive activities still have today on the world (Dorson, 1982).

The cultural significance of this celebration is focused on the social aspects of the country. The events that occur on January 26 are to focus on what the country has accomplished in all aspects of its society, for the most part, socially. They take great effort to reward those who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and who have contributed greatly to their country. The award ceremonies are often a highlight of Australia Day demonstrating the great patriotism of its citizens. The establishment of these awards to the citizens has reenacted the importance of the citizens contributions to their country. The nation has put forward much effort into stressing the significance of this ceremony during Australia Day.

Australia Day is a key national holiday that expresses many culturally important ideas. This day solidifies nationally the importance of the citizen's contributions and patriotism to their country. Although extravagant displays of costumes or extreme celebrating are not key qualities of this holiday, time with friends and family and enjoying valuable time together. Like all celebrations, there are displays of many symbolic figures, mainly flags and other forms of patriotic figures that help reenact the importance of being an Australian (Figure 4). The award ceremonies and flag raising events are ideal on Australia day, but the events that are crucial to the continuation of this holiday are things like barbeques, fireworks (Figure 1) and the participation in fun run's and cricket. It is this aspect that reunites the people socially and allows the people to put aside the stress of their everyday lives and focus on being an Australian. Even through indifferences and strive from the past, this county comes together once a year in unity and celebration of what it has accomplished in the past and they continue to look forward to the future with confidence.

Contact Jim Aimers | ©2004 Miami University