Anzac Day is an Australian and New Zealand based public holiday commemorating War time Veterans that takes place on April 25th every year. This public holiday specifically commemorates lives lost in WWI’s battle of Gallipoli. Thousands of Australian’s and their allies were brutally massacred trying to capture the city of Constantinople, and were finally rescued by the British Navy. This experience of war time allies like Great Britain and The US ties into the way we see ourselves as Australians. The image of the white male war time digger is sometimes seen as the ideal personification of the Australian identity. This is becoming increasingly criticized as Australia is a multi-cultural country. For these groups it is hard to challenge this holiday as this is like the Veteran’s Day of America, and is seen as a large part of Australian history. Although this is a celebration of Australia’s participation in war, some argue that it promotes militarism.
Elements of the Anzac myth were deployed to swing people to understand Australian recent intervention on the war on terror. Any marketing that involves drinking and family ties is often linked to this celebration, and is seen as problematic. Anzac representation is used somewhat freely, but the term “Anzac Day” is strictly regulated, and therefore the “anzac myth” continues. Growing up with great grandparents who were “diggers” in the war, my family celebrates this holiday every year by eating a big Australian meal which includes a large roast dinner. We finish off the meal with Anzac Biscuits. These biscuits are only made and eaten during this time, and are related to the recipes used to keep biscuits fresh during war time. We think about our ancestors, and appreciate our military, but there is a feeling that this holiday is more compatible with older generations as we are no longer engaged in any wars.
Having participated in a Songkran celebration myself, I really enjoyed hearing what the informant had to say about it. She very accurately described the thrill of the whole festival and how childish it seems, but actually really important to so many people.