Sunday, 25 April 2010

Anzac Day Traditions

Today is April 25th. Every year we celebrate ANZAC Day on this day to honour members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War I.  More recently it more broadly commemorates all those who died and served in military operations for Australia and New Zealand.  Many people begin this day by attending a dawn service in their local area. Other people line the streets for a parade where returned servicemen and women wearing their medals march to honour the fallen.  There is also a dawn service held at Anzac Cove, which is the small cove on the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey, the site of World War I landing of the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) on April 25 1915.

This ode is read at the dawn service:
They shall not grow old,
As we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the sun,
And in the morning,
We will remember them.
The crowd then responds with:

We will remember them.
Lest we forget.

This is a day to give thanks to all those that gave their lives to provide us with the many freedoms we enjoy today and to celebrate and keep alive the ANZAC Spirit which is based on qualities such as endurance, courage, ingenuity, good humour, larrikinism, and mateship. The first ANZAC soldiers are perceived to have been innocent and fit, stoical and laconic, irreverent in the face of authority, naturally egalitarian and disdainful of British class differences.  Many of these qualities are the core of our Australian identity and I hope they remain so for many years to come.

There is another ANZAC tradition that most Australians know... making ANZAC biscuits (not to be confused with the ANZAC tile/wafer - biscuit recipe at the bottom of linked page).  I made a batch today (as I do every ANZAC day). I am glad I will be sharing them with my loved ones who are all safe at home with me today.

They are made using rolled oats, flour, coconut, sugar, butter, golden syrup, bicarbonate of soda and boiling water. Anzac biscuits have long been associated with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) established in World War I.  It is said that the biscuits were sent by wives and mothers to soldiers abroad because the ingredients do not spoil easily and the biscuits kept well during naval transportation. These biscuits are an Australian favourite and are readily available in grocery stores.

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