We ate our Coconut infused prawn entrée’s followed by curried vegetables and topped with sticky rice pudding for dessert. It was exciting now for my four year old, aware of the significance of this day, to partake in a form of controlled hooliganism. Later we strolled through a sea of Aussies and made our way to the paddle boats. There, as a young family, we revitalized our thighs by peddling our way around the manmade Darling Harbour Lake. “I want to climb” he yells, as we all grab an eye-full of the climbing rock. $6 later and the four year old, now 10 feet above me, is stuck, petrified, about the descent back down to street level. “Grab the rope with two hands”, she chastises, and he slowly descends back to us.
It’s now 8 O’clock in the evening and we’ve nestled ourselves amongst our brethren. “Come-on Aussie”, belts out the Irish chap in front of me, “G’day Buddy”, mumbles the Indian grandfather next to me – Australia, you see, is still a land loved by all and inhabited by many. It doesn’t really matter where you're from to the Citizens of this Nation. What matters is your soul, and whether or not “a fair go” means a lot more to you than simply equality; as an Aussie ‘a fair go’ means a level of acceptance and safety known to us as a state of mind.
8:50pm and this huddle of 100,000 plus nationalists are delighted by bursts of colour created by $1,000,000 worth of fireworks. We cheer, we cry and somehow we bond - not by touch, smell or even language, but by merely participating. All our favourite theme songs of our childhood are played back to us, accompanied by this feast of redden above us.
Now 2 hours have passed and my son, Leon, remains on my shoulders. He high-fives those willing and makes whistle-like noises with high pitched screams. The car park is cluttered yet we all implausibly wave and smile while idly waiting our turn to exit. I must admit that on most given opportunities I’m neither too parochial or too evangelistic about my chosen Nationality, however, on this occasion I unconsciously dial my brother and wish him an Happy Australia Day, followed by my Mum & Dad, an Auntie, several friends and a Buddy now based in Tokyo.
Happy Australia Day and may you all be blessed in your country of choice as we are here.
- Where do you come from?
- How do you celebrate your Nations Day?