As one of the newest additions to the Salt + Light team I thought it would be time for me to write my first blog. Being one of two Australians working for S+L I thought that today, being Australia Day, would be the best time to introduce myself. This will be my first time celebrating Australia Day in a different country. All my years I have never felt a strong urge to celebrate Australia Day. To me it was just another public holiday, but now living in Canada on the other side of the world from my family and friends I have felt a strong desire to show my true colours and tell you a little bit about my country's yearly tradition.
January the 26th commemorates the settlement of Australia which Australians today call ‘Australia Day’. In 1788 was the arrival of the first settlement of the convicts and the free man and women of England. It’s a day when all Australians come together and celebrate the great land they live in, from parades through the centre of the city, picnics with family to fireworks at night.
In Canberra the capital of Australia a ceremony is held to honor the achievements of Australians that have proved themselves a proud and humble representative of Australia, through their achievements in their daily life and are given the ‘Australian of the year award’. It is also a time for immigrants to join their nation they live in and become Australian citizens.
With all the great joy that happens on this day we must still remember that the Indigenous Australians see this day as ‘Invasion Day’. The day the white man took their sacred land from there grasps. We should look at this celebration not only to celebrate a great country but to unite one another and to bring solidarity between the indigenous Australians and the rest of the country. In fact, last year the Australian government made an official apology to the "stolen generation" -- the indigenous people who were taken from their homes and families. I understand that a similar situation occurred here in Canada with Native Canadians, and that the government is working also to reconcile differences. In this way, I can see how a day like this doesn't just apply to Australia, but to nations across the world too. So on this Australia Day though I will be far away, my country will remain in my heart and in my prayers -- for the unity of the people there and around the world.
-Photo courtesy of wyd2008.org.