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Happy Straya Day!

australian flagCelebrated on January 26th, Australia Day usually lands right in the middle of an enjoyable Australian summer, the perfect venue for a party of epic proportions.

In 2019, the date falls on a Saturday, with many Australians opting to take a long, leisurely 3-day weekend as the day is officially celebrated on Monday, January 28, 2019.

All about Australia Day

In 1818, the first official celebration of "Foundation Day" was marked by a 30-gun salute followed by an invitation-only dinner ball.

Later celebrations were marked by sporting events, horse racing tournaments, and spectacular regattas. One seaside parade in particular -- the Australia Day Regatta -- marks its 181st anniversary this year when it is held on Thursday, January 26, 2017 in Sydney Harbor.

australia day tall ship regatta
A tall ship sails into Sydney as
part of the annual Australia Day
regatta parade celebrations.

Today, the formal ceremonies start on Australia Day eve and continue through to the next day, with recognition of the contributions by the original settlers and the indigenous people of Australia.

Flag raising, citizenship ceremonies, and the presentation of community awards are combined with breakfasts, neighborhood events, and fun activities for families throughout Australia.

Fireworks and parades can be seen in the smallest towns to the biggest cities, including spectacular light shows and live music concerts staged on the lawns of the Parliament House in Canberra.

Elsewhere, Australia Day has taken on a life of its own with the whole world joining in to celebrate all things Australian on social media with video posts and e-cards sent to Aussies who are far from home on Australia Day.

Australia Day fun facts

Australian coat of arms
The emu and the kangaroo grace
the Australian coat of arms. .

• Australia got its name from early Dutch explorers who dubbed the continent Australische (the Dutch version of southern.) 

• The unofficial Australian National Anthem is "Waltzing Matilda" which holds the record as the nation's most recorded song. "Advance Australia Fair" is actually the official national anthem which replaced 'God Save the Queen" in 1984.

• By the 19th century, nearly all of Australia's colonies had declared a public holiday to celebrate Australia Day, but it wasn't until the 1940’s that everyone agreed upon January 26th as the proper day to celebrate.

• The two animals featured on the Australian coat of arms are the emu and the kangaroo -- for the simple reason that neither animal can walk backward, but can only move forward, symbolizing Australia’s desire to do the same.

More about Australia Day around the Web:

Australia Day
- The official government site with updates on related events in each state, with Australian of the Year information, and related education resoures.

Australia Day - Wikipedia - Check out the history and settlement of Australia right up through to modern-day celebrations including a photo gallery and related resources.

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