Anzac Day is a national holiday in Australia and New Zealand
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Anzac Day is a national holiday in Australia and New Zealand.
The acronym ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and April 25 is the day that Australia and New Zealand remember the Anzac members who fought during World War I at Gallipoli in Turkey. More recently it commemorates all members who have served in military operation for both countries.
History of Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand
Australia and New Zealand, as part of the Commonwealth of Nations, became part of the Allied forces during World War I. In 1915, under a plan designed by Winston Churchill to take back Istanbul, capital of the Ottoman Empire and an ally of Germany, the Anzac army joined the Allied expedition on their way to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula. They landed in Gallipoli on April 25 and were received by the fierce Turkish forces. The battle for Gallipoli went on for eight months, with both sides suffering heavy casualties and enduring great hardships. By the end of the war, more than 8,700 Australians and 2,700 New Zealanders died.
Even if the campaign to take Gallipoli was unsuccessful, it created what has been called the Anzac legend, or Anzac spirit, that today marks both the Australian and New Zealand identity. It suggests that Australian and New Zealand soldiers share many of the same qualities as brothers in arms.
The Gallipoli campaign is often described as the birth of both nations, Australia and New Zealand. In 1916, April 25 was officially named as Anzac Day, and a wide variety of ceremonies were held nationwide in both countries. In London, 2,000 soldiers marched through the streets dubbed as The Knights of Gallipoli. During the 1920s, Anzac Day became a memorial day for the deceased.
Australia’s and New Zealand’s Anzac Day Traditions, Customs and Activities
Australians and New Zealanders celebrate April 25 as a ceremonial occasion to reflect on the futility of war and to remember those who fought and lost their lives for their country. The day starts with dawn services; these are held at war memorials across Australia and New Zealand. Before dawn veterans will gather and will stand for two minutes of silence, remembering the landing at dawn in Gallipoli.
The “Last Post”, a bugle call used at Commonwealth military funerals and ceremonies, is played, commemorating those who have fallen in war. The service ends with the “Reveille”, another bugle call chiefly used to wake military personnel at sunrise.
One of the traditions of Anzac Day is the “gunfire breakfast”, coffee with rum added, which occurs shortly after many dawn ceremonies. The practice is done to honor the troops that took this sort of “breakfast” before facing battle. Later in the day, veterans meet and join in marches throughout the major cities.
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