Friday, 8 June 2007

Queen's Birthday Long Weekend

In all the Australian states apart from Western Australia this weekend is the Queen's Birthday weekend. Next Monday is a public holiday. I have often wondered why, first, we have this holiday at all, and secondly, why it should fall in early June; Queen Elizabeth's birthday is on April 21. Most Australians believe that we should have an Australian head of state. Nobody celebrates this holiday by eating special foods (coronation chicken, anyone?) or by singing "God Save the Queen". In fact, nobody celebrates this holiday for its own sake at all. It really is a throwback to colonial times. However, we Aussies do love an excuse for a long weekend, no matter what the reason.

Last night B and I debated whether the holiday celebrates a particular monarch's birthday, or whether it is simply that the powers-that-be once long ago decided that we all need a day off in the middle of the year. I did a spot of googling and discovered that George V, who reigned from 1910 to 1936, was born on June 3rd, so I suspect he was the reason for the holiday, although of course it was the King's Birthday weekend back then.

In Australia, the Queen's birthday weekend is the traditional opening of the snow/ski season. Many of us love snow, largely, I think, because it is a rare and precious commodity in this vast, sunburnt land of ours. At primary school in Sydney, I remember those lucky enough to have been to 'the snow' bringing some back for show-and-tell in an icebox for the rest of us to ooh and ah over. I did not see the real thing on the ground for the first time until I was in my late teens. Australian readers, can any of you remember the first time you 'saw snow'?

In our household, the weekend will begin with a family movie night tonight. We have a few ideas for activities over the next three days, some of which involve catching up on sleep and attacking a few household projects. Bliss.


rhonda jean said...

the first time I saw real snow was when I went to live in Germany when I was 29 years old.

I hope you enjoy your weekend.

phoeberae said...

I was about 2 or 3 when I first saw snow. My dad used to be a coach driver and would be called upon by our church to 'volunteer' to drive buses for youth group and church family outings.
The whole family would often tag along to these events (my parents were the youth leaders for a long time) went to the snow quite a lot growing up.
I remember the big kids (all of 15 or 16 probably) would take us on their tobboggans and monopolise us the whole time.
I also remember being cold and wet and miserable by the end of the day.
I'm in for a family weekend at the snow anytime Kate... I'll email you the accomodation I recommended today.

Isabella in the 21st Century said...

We don't even celebrate the Queen's birthday! Although, I *think* the old girl has two birthdays, one is the real one, one is an official, public one.

"Oh Philip, I forgot to troop the colour, will you troop it for me?"

Jenny said...

Hi Kate. I first saw snow when I was in highschool in Moss Vale. It snowed and we were sent home from school (I think). Andrew first saw snow when we went overseas and travelled through Switzerland. I think we were 22.
Hope you have a great long weekend.

Shabee Chick said...

I'm sitting here paging along on your blog and wondering why in the world you have snow pictures in June! Then I realize "She's in Australia" and here we're soaking up summer's rays. It's so nice the way the blogging community makes the world that much smaller. Happy winter!