The Queen’s Birthday is celebrated the second Monday of June in most of Australia. A tradition dating back to the 18th century, the holiday pays homage to the Queen of England, though the current monarch’s true birthday is April 21 as of 2014. Because of the Common State holiday, the majority of businesses are closed, giving people time off to travel and spend time with friends and family.
Establishment of Australia’s Holiday
Australians sometimes forget the country is a constitutional monarchy. Currently, Queen Elizabeth II is the “ruler who does not reign.” While she doesn’t make laws affecting the country, she does stand as its representative. The same is true for 15 other countries, all of which were founded by the British Empire. This is the reason that all around the world, the Queen’s Birthday – sometimes called Victoria’s Day – is celebrated. Many times it falls in June, but each country, and sometimes each province within those countries, may change it according to their own preferences. Western Australia, for instance, celebrates the Queen’s Birthday around October each year.
Celebrating the Queen’s Birthday
Because Australia’s ties to Great Britain aren’t very strong, the holiday is less about paying respect to the Queen these days as it is about a chance to miss work and have fun. Depending on the region you live in, you may miss one or two days of work because of the holiday, and chances are you’ll wind up with at least a three-day break from school or work. Communities take advantage of the break by planning events, and it’s often the first winter festival of the year because the timing coincides with the first hints of cold weather.
Attending a Sports Events
Each year at the Melbourne cricket club, the Collingwood Magpies and the Melbourne Demons face off during the holiday weekend. Fans of the Australian Football League can foot the bill for travel and tickets or simply celebrate at home. However, sporting your favourite team’s jerseys or flying its colours can add a special flair to watching the game at home.
Gearing up for Winter Fun
While skis and snowshoes will be put away for a few weeks longer, the Queen’s Birthday is a perfect time to stock up on gloves, scarves, hats, and other cold weather supplies. Resorts often kick off their operating hours as well, giving everyone a last chance to enjoy the outdoors in pleasant weather.
Taking a Three-Day Holiday
The three-day weekend gives people an opportunity to travel, making short holidays at this time of year very popular. It’s also a common time to host parties, especially in communities where the Queen’s Birthday is celebrated with firework displays. Firework sales have been restricted to most of the country since the 1980s. The Queen’s Birthday only comes once a year, and only allows for one long weekend, so put your time to its best use by celebrating and having fun. Look for affordable items on eBay online to spice up your festivities.