Aussies aren’t the only country that bbq meat for an easier meal – but we hang our hat on the practice. We hold dear our outdoor lifestyle so fervently that we give ourselves a special day to use it.
En masse, we throw some snags, onion slices and steak on the grill, rustle up some salads and slap it all between the sides of a hamburger roll liberally smothered in tomato sauce (NB: not ketchup). We play some games in the backyard – usually scratch cricket – so that everyone, no matter the age or ability, can have a hit, run, catch or bowl. If you’re very lucky, you have a dog on your side as a ring-in fielder.
Some Aussies have a pool to cool off in, some are near the ocean, but we play, we eat, we play some more and we cool down however we can. The point is we do it together. We stop all the running around, the “have to do’s” that get in the way and we make the effort to spend the day together, talking, laughing, eating and drinking.
The Australia Day public holiday has such a different feeling to it than the Christmas holiday. Less emphasis on presents and the need to give everyone something meaningful or “good”. Less tradition to adhere to on what to eat, how to eat, how to spend the day. Australia Day is easy-going. It’s the day we spend being how we think we are. Relaxed. Connecting. Having a laugh. Enjoying the moment. No worries.
I know that this day holds historical echoes that are unpleasant and that some find upsetting because it feels unresolved and unacknowledged. Regardless of the day you get to do it, joining your loved ones together with a no fuss, no baggage, no bullshit event – just to catch up and relax – is a gift I hope you receive too.