Saturday, 1 September 2007

Wattle Day

Well, happy Wattle Day, our emerging national day. September 1 is Wattle Day , and Wattle Day is the logical choice for all Australians as our national day. Some people do not find this statement to be an axion, but I think that it is.

Let me dismiss the objections one by one.

1 We already have a national day. Response: no, we don't. Many people celebrate 26 January as our national day, but many of us don't. The foundation of Sydney was a wonderful event in our history, but it is hard to see why it should be our national day, especially for indigenous Australians. And for that matter for people from other cities.

2 OK, why not choose another day which is significant for all Australians? Response: Wattle Day is that day.

3 What about alternatives? How about Anzac Day, for example? Response: Anzac Day has the advantage that it is a day we can jointly celebrate with our extremely close cousins across the Tasman. It has the disadvantage that it is a touch too military to serve as a national day.

4 What about Federation Day? That's appropriate - lots of countries have as their national day the day the nation came into existence. Response: Unfortunately, Australians rightly value their public holidays, and January 1 (Federation Day) is already a public holiday. We don't really need a public holiday around then.

5 OK, but why Wattle Day? Response: Wattle is cheerful, bright, optimistic and apolitical. Its symbolism is unexceptionable and clear - the begining of spring. It grows in all parts of Australia, and comes in our national colours. It is the design inspiration behind our national system of awards. The Wattle Day poem is known to all, and is self-deprecating and modest, in contrast to the pompous and bombastic tone of many national celebrations:
Here's a bit of wattle
The symbol of our land
You can stick it in a bottle
Or hold it in your hand.

I hope you enjoyed today. Wattle Day this year was a glorious day here in Melbourne, as it often is - bright, sunny, clear, a little brisk, a wonderful day to sit back and think of profound or superficial things. The very day for a national day, enjoyed as such by the small but happy throng that celebrates it. Please join us.

This year Wattle Day also marks my return to this blog after a fortnight elsewhere. Another delight for September 1.

2 comments:

Bec said...

Another good justification might be the dearth of public holidays between June and November ...

FragrantWay said...

I like the idea of Wattle Day very much....a quiet and eloquent reminder of the beautiful country we live in.We had our own observance of it at work,and during the day several people asked me why I was wearing a sprig of wattle on my shirt.How times have changed!