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What is the Most Australian Way to Spend Australia Day?

Vanessa de Largie | Topic Media | January 20, 2012

What does it mean to be Australian?

Do you think we are a patriotic country?

More importantly, are you patriotic?

I tend to agree with the opinions of Germaine Greer; I think Australians are confused about our identity.

Perhaps this is the reason for the ‘tall poppy syndrome’ that exists here in our homeland, as viral as Facebook.

We call ourselves the lucky country, the sunburnt country with the laid back culture.

It wasn’t until I travelled to Europe, America and Asia, that I realised and appreciated some of the positives of being an Australian. One certainly feels safe here, that is for sure.

But is our laid back syndrome crippling?

In America, its all about being patriotic. I found out first hand, arriving in New York on Independence Day.

I had what they call a ‘cultural cringe’ as I took photos of the American flag displayed on curtains, cups, pens, walls, letterboxes and clothing, it was a little overwhelming to say the least. Not to mention the very¬†Un-Australian¬†welcome I received from our patriotic American friends.

Can you imagine a foreigner arriving to your home on Australia Day?

They would be invited to join the celebrations would they not?

Well, that day I was left in my temporary housing alone, while my four American housemates celebrated Independence Day with a BBQ. Sour grapes aside, I love countries that encourage and support the individual and the go-getter and Americans do it so well.

If you are an ambitious Aussie, one can feel stifled here, especially in the entertainment industry. (I speak from personal experience) A go-getter attitude can scare Australian employers rather than get you hired.

[B] So what is the Most Australian Way to Spend Australia Day?[B]

Is going out on the 26th of January, wearing Australian flag tattoos and guzzling VB the way to go?

I cringe at that too. Am I a sceptic?

I would like to believe we are a deeper, more intelligent nation.

I believe the most Australian way to celebrate Australia Day is to broaden our thinking. To make a shift in ourselves and our lives, that actually moves us forward in the big picture. Funding for the arts, acceptance and laws passed regarding gay marriage, increased protection and supervision of our elderly in nursing homes and palliative care hospices. These are just some examples. Am I being idealistic?

What is the most Australian way to spend Australia Day?

Somebody tell me. I’m open to ideas.