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Photo: BusinessInsider.com

Everybody loves holidays. But none love them more with such gusto than Aussies. These are the times when banks, some businesses, and government offices are closed, but with the tourist attractions open and the streets the busiest.

These are the times when the all too often busy folks take their time off, celebrate, and be with their family. But if your boss wants you to work on a holiday, not all is lost, because you’ll get a bigger compensation in return, usually 2.5 times, as a penalty rate.

Australian calendar is littered with holidays, and it usually varies from one state to another. But we will focus only on the 15 biggest ones.

15. Australian Open in Melbourne

The Australian Open brings the world’s hottest players to Melbourne for two weeks of tennis thrills during January. More than 550,000 spectators attend one of the biggest sporting events in Australia. ‘The Happy Slam’ as Roger Federer likes to call the Grand Slam tennis tournament, is an opportunity to watch tennis’s biggest sporting stars battle it out on the court and to explore the urban culture of laid-back Melbourne. Join the vibrant atmosphere in and around the city with matches broadcast on big screens, festive beer gardens, pubs and live music events.

14. Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney

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Photo: Salesforce.com

As part of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (March), Oxford Street in the city's east transforms into a parade of pride, love and protest. And the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade gets bigger every year. LGBTQI groups flaunt a dazzling performance down one of Sydney's busiest streets with dance, music and wow-factor floats. It attracts thousands of local and global punters who gather for one spectacular night, so dress in your best glitzy attire and come join in on the festival of love, according to Australia.

13. Dreaming Festival

Held in the small town of Woodford, just a 90 minute drive from Brisbane, the Dreaming Festival is a national showcase that puts this small town on the map. Held in June over three days, this event highlights the best of indigenous culture, including craft workshops, dancing, music, cooking events, and storytelling.

12. AFL Grand Final Day

On the third Saturday in September, Melbourne braces itself for the most anticipated sporting event in the country—the AFL Grand Final. Just being in Melbourne during this time is spectacular, but having tickets to the game is astounding. The color, the shows, the soccer, and the non-stop buzz is almost unseen anywhere else in the world.

11. Brisbane Festival

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Photo: Jonesaroundtheworld.com

A beautiful city and a great place to visit anytime in the year, Brisbane is especially memorable in September and October when the Brisbane Festival attracts millions. From the grand fireworks opening Riverfest, to the cultural performances within South Bank, this celebration lasts for several weeks, and possesses something for everyone, noted by Iexplore.

10. Melbourne Cup – Spring Racing Carnival

Known as the ‘race that stops a nation,’ the Melbourne Cup has become a significant event on the Australian calendar. The country’s greatest sporting event is held on the first Tuesday in November at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne. Fashion plays a major role and several racing carnivals are held outside of the main event, including Derby Day and Oaks Day.

9. New Year’s Day

Balls are the norm of the day, highlighted with themes like formal wear, masquerade, or even tropical dress codes. Celebrations can happen on beaches, boat cruises, parks, or just barbecues at home. But the focal point perhaps, is the countdown. Held in various cities, especially Sydney, this ends with a huge bang of grandiose fireworks followed with the hugs, kisses, and toasts of champagnes from the locals. New Year never look and feel this good anywhere else.

8. Good Friday

Between March and April, depending where Easter will fall. Aussies might always be partying and upbeat, but Holy Week is where things go lay low. Culminating on Good Friday, Holy Weeks is where people reflect, spend time with their families and friends (sans the partying), go on fasting, and pray.

Special church services and long prayer vigils are being held. Fish is being substituted to meat. Hot cross buns (small bread buns flavored with sugar and/or spices with a cross marking the top) are being eaten. Schools, post offices, shops, and most businesses are closed. Alcohol is tightly restricted also.

7. Easter Sunday and Monday

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Photo: Timeanddate.com

Australians are big when it comes to Easter. When most cultures end their Lent on Sunday, Aussies had to extend it until the next day. It’s basically the long weekend we all need, but only Australians apparently deserve.

Like in most countries, Easter is a reason to celebrate. Churches are lavishly decorated. Joyful songs echoes across the hall from the choir. There are chocolate eggs and Easter egg hunts, too.

On Easter Monday, business and school are still closed. It is the opportunity for people to spend time with their friends and relatives through reunions, family dinners, and community events.

6. Anzac Day (25 April)

Originally, this holiday is meant to honor only the members of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, (or ANZAC, thus the name) who served and fought during World War I, battling the Ottoman Empire at Gallipoli, Turkey. But it was expanded to commemorate entirely all those who served in the military operations of the two countries. This is a rare occasion in which two sovereign nations celebrate the same holiday of remembrance.

5. Queen’s Birthday

Every second Monday of June (except in Western Australia, where they celebrate it on October. For the record, Queen Elizabeth II was born 21 April 1926, so the date of this holiday doesn’t have anything to do with her actual birth date. Aussies celebrate whoever is the current monarch’s birthday ever since the late 1700s, and just moved the date to where it will be most convenient to them, regardless of what is written on the ruling king/queen’s birth certificate.

4. Labour Day

On 21 April, 1856, a group of building workers marched to Parliament House to make their plea heard: to be granted a fixed eight-hour working day with no loss of compensation or pay. Their call was heeded and became one of the very first organized workers in the world to achieve such privilege.

This inspired Labour Day celebrations around the world. A hundred years later, Australians commemorate this victory of the working class’ rights by… not working.

3. Christmas Day (25 December)

Christmas in Australia arrives during the beginning of summer season. Much like the rest of the world, Christmas trees (known as Christmas Bushes), lights, and the Nativity scene are a staple of the decorations. But this is where the similarities take a surprising halt.

But perhaps the largest event during this season is the Carols by Candlelight, which involves people gathering in a park, singing Christmas songs amid candle lights. And may feature performances from artists and celebrities.

2. Boxing Day (26 December)

If you expect crowds gathering around two blokes trying to beat each other to the pulp on Boxing Day, you’re in for a disappointment, mate.

Instead of trading punches, people exchange gifts or “Christmas boxes” on this holiday. Known as the ‘second Christmas,” this festivity was handed down to the Aussies by the Brits as part of their cultural influence, according to Visaone.

1. Australia Day

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PHoto: ABC.com
Australia Day, celebrated on January 26, is the anniversary of the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip and 11 ships of British convicts to New South Wales- marking the “founding” of Australia. On this day every year, Australians come together to celebrate their country’s greatness! People get together with family and friends, have barbeques, and set off fireworks, shared by Capaworld.capa.

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