Every second Monday of June, most of the states in Australia (except Christmas Island, Norfolk Island, Qld, WA) have a public holiday to…celebrate Queen’s Birthday.
A bit of background:
Australia is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations and the official head of state is the Monarch of the Realms. This is currently Queen Elizabeth II. She is also the head of state of many other countries and territories, including Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Canada and New Zealand. She was born on April 21, 1926, although her official birthday is celebrated on a range of dates in the different countries of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Monarch’s Birthday was first celebrated in Australia in 1788. In that year, King George III was the Monarch and Governor Arthur Phillip declared a holiday to mark his birthday. Originally, the Monarch’s birthday was celebrated on the anniversary of the actual date of birth of the King or Queen. However, after the death of King George V in 1936, the date remained close to his birthday, which was June 3.
On the second Monday in June, the Queen’s Birthday honors list is released. This contains the names of the new members of the Order of Australia and other honors issued by the Australian government or the Queen. These are generally for exceptional service to Australians, Australia or humanity as a whole.
Actual Queen’s Birthday:
The current reigning Queen – Elizabeth II – birthday is on 21 April. And surprisingly, the UK does not get a public holiday for its monarch’s birthday. Not fair, don’t you think?
Every holiday has its tradition – how to celebrate, how to commemorate. We celebrate Australia Day with BBQ and beer, Australian flags and various races. We celebrate Labor Day with Moomba Parade and BBQ and beer. We even have a holiday for AFL Grand Final Day… We celebrate with BBQ and beer among other things.
Queen’s Birthday does not have obvious tradition. Yes, the list of Order of Australia recepients is announced… But who pays attention? Only the recipients and journalists who write about this. But the rest of us?
I popped out to the shops on Monday and what did I see? People are using extra day off to do things at home: to plant, to fix, to clean, to replenish. Good for them.
So, we clearly do not have any special tradition for Queen’s Birthday but we do have a day off.
In the current scheme of things another day off went unnoticed…
There hundreds and hundreds of adaptations, versions, interpretations of current Queen’s life and all the other English Kings and Queens (Henry VIII being my favourite monster). But I think The Crown is the most fitting mention in this post.
I’ve only watched some of the Season 1 of the show, but I think it’s a good one. It is all about how a girl becomes a monarch… overnight. Did she want it? Did she?