Today's word is Queen Day, or in Dutch, Koninginnedag. I was reminded today of my delight when I first encountered Queen Day. Each year on this day, now April 30, the Dutch celebrate their Queen's birthday. Over time, the celebration has come to incorporate a much wider range of activities than a simple birthday for the Queen.
On Queen Day, Dutch people have a national vrijmarkt, which means that they can sell anything in the street that day and also on koniginnenacht (the night before). It is also an occasion for oranjegekte (orange craze), when the colour orange is worn or otherwise used in a wide range of settings - "orange banners, orange colored foods and drinks, and extreme amounts of orange clothing and creative accessories are worn as well. Sometimes even the water in fountains is dyed orange", according to the Wikipedia. The Wikipedia goes on "it is not uncommon for people to impersonate the queen, not always in a flattering manner."
Although the Wikipedia article describes the Queen's Official Birthday in Commonwealth countries, such as ours, as "a similar occasion", I'm afraid that the reverse is true. The Queen's Birthday, as celebrated in Australia, is our dullest public holiday. The only specific celebration is poring through the Queen's birthday honours list in the newspapers to look for the names of friends and relatives or, more likely, remote acquaintances. What can we do? Suggestions are most welcome and will be conveyed to the appropriate authorities.