What is Anzac Day?
Anzac Day is an Australian holiday that takes place on April 25 and is recognised all over the country. It is a day of remembrance, where Australians get to honour and remember those who have fought for their country in World War I and World War II, as well as those who lost their lives in the military and peacekeeping operations that Australia has been involved in.
Anzac Day originally began as a memorial for those who breached the shores of Gallipoli, Turkey in 1915. Storming the shores at dawn, Australian and New Zealand soldiers fought for 8 months, numbering 8,000 casualties - a number that would rise to 60,000 before the end of the war. The holiday represents a special time for all Australians whereupon they can reflect, remember and honour those who have given their lives for their country.
The year after troops stormed the shore of Gallipoli, the first Anzac ceremony was recognized back on home soil. This ceremony would eventually evolve to what we know it as today, which involves a dawn service, marches, memorial services, parades and two-up games. The original dawn service, which begins Anzac Day, was at first restricted to veterans only so that they could reflect on those they lost and battles they fought. Daytime ceremonies were held for families and well-wishers. Today, all are welcome to the dawn service, which is the most sacred part of the day, whereupon prayers are said, wreathes are laid and both the Australian and New Zealand national anthems are sung.
Anzac Day was recognized as a national holiday for the first time in 1927, where each state observed it in some form. Each area will have its own service, which will begin at dawn to commemorate the original troops that entered Turkey, followed by a day of memorial and memory.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.