Christmas in Australia

Christmas in Australia

Get your sunscreen and your swimsuit: it’s Christmastime in Australia! December is the middle of summer in the Southern Hemisphere and temperatures can easily soar to a scorching 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since most Australians live along the coastlines, a family outing to the beach is a Christmas tradition. If you look out into the waves, you may even see Santa coming in on a surfboard or small boat. Some families like to admire or even build elaborate sand sculptures with Christmas themes.

Other families may take a dip in a pool or play a game of cricket before tucking into the Christmas meal. The table is decorated with the many flowers that are in bloom at this time of year. Dinner features seafood like shrimp and lobster, cold salads, mincemeat pies and plum puddings. Based on traditional English Christmas puddings, this Australian one has a twist: a small favor is baked inside. These date back to the days of the gold rush, when a small piece of gold was baked in for good luck and good fortune.

In the southern city of Melbourne, thousands of Australians gather under the clear night sky for “Carols by Candlelight.” This tradition is now copied in many other Australian towns and cities.

70% of Australians are Christians, and to them, Christmas celebrates the birth of Christ. Many Christians will attend Mass on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. However, as a national holiday, Christmas for many Australians means celebrating joy and family.

Author: Heather Clydesdale. Photo: Peter Konnecke/Flickr