Christmas Australia 2023
Christmas, also called the "Feast of the Nativity", is a festival that commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. It's celebrated on December 25 as both a religious and cultural occasion by billions of people around the world, including Australians.
The traditional Christmas narrative is outlined in the New Testament of the Bible. According to this text, Jesus was born in a stable in Bethlehem in alignment with messianic prophecies. While Christians observe the holiday to commemorate his birth, it's also a secular occasion with the significance of gift-giving, togetherness, and bonding as a family.
Christmas in Australia is held on the same days as everywhere else. Christmas Day will be held on Monday, the 25th of December, 2023. Christmas Eve will be held on Sunday, the 24th and Boxing Day will be held on Tuesday, the 26th.
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Christmas Day in Australia
Christmas Day is an annual festivity that marks the birth of Jesus Christ. It's observed primarily on December 25th as both a religious and cultural celebration. While predominantly Christian in origin, many non-Christians also celebrate Christmas yearly. Overall it's observed by billions of people worldwide.
Date 2023: Monday, 25th December
Significance: Christian holiday commemorating the Nativity of Jesus
Celebrations: Gifting, family, togetherness, feasting, and sharing the table
Observances: Church services and a public holiday
Also called: Noël, Nativity, Xmas, and Yule
Observed by: Christians (religious) and non-Christians (cultural and commercial)
The term "Christmas" is a shortened version of "Christ's mass". "Christ" means anointed in Greek (tracing back to Hebrew), while "mass" stems from Latin, meaning the celebration of the Eucharist.
Alternative names for Christmas include "Midwinter", "Nativity", "Yule", and "Noel".
The Romans marked the winter solstice on December 25. This may be why the first recorded celebration of Christmas occurred in Rome on this date in 336. In the early 19th century, Christmas was popularised by writers like Charles Dickens as a holiday based around family, giving, kindness, and Santa Claus, though it was observed before that.
Introduction of the festival
Christmas was not celebrated before 336, as early Christians considered the celebration of birthdays a pagan tradition. However, after the first Christmas celebration in 336, this holiday gradually spread around the globe.
Observance and traditions
Until the 1950s, Christmas customs were only accessible to upper-class and wealthy families. Most of the population did not partake in Christmas rituals. Christmas trees were rare, and children's stockings contained slices of fruit. Modern traditions became more widespread during the 1950s and beyond.
These days, Christmas is an affordable and widely celebrated holiday marked by fine foods, gifts, advent calendars, Christmas cards, Christmas trees, fairy lights, and baked goods.
Many Christian churches hold services on and around Christmas day. For religious members, attendance is an important part of the meaning of the holiday. These days, many Australians also attend Christmas services virtually.
The traditional colours of Christmas are red, green, and gold. Red symbolises the blood of Jesus, green signifies eternal life, and gold is a declaration of royalty. Christmas decorations are often adorned with these colours.
Music and carols
The first Christmas carols can be traced back to fourth-century Rome. Once folk songs based on Mediaeval chord progressions, many are now sung in churches. Christmas carols can be both religious and non-religious, with the latter focusing more on Santa and gifting.
A Christmas meal shared with family has long been a hallmark of this celebration. The contents of this meal vary between countries. In Australia and England, beef, pork, turkey, and chicken roasts are commonly followed by traditional Christmas desserts.
The first commercial Christmas card was produced in 1843 in London. Today, they are commonly exchanged between friends and family with messages such as "Seasons Greetings" and "Merry Christmas".
Gift-giving is integral to modern-day Christmas celebrations. Christmas gifting is a time to show your loved ones how well you know them and how special and valuable they are to you. Christmas gifts vary widely from hampers to sports gifts to activities to accessories to books to homewares to gag gifts.
FAQs about Christmas Day Australia
In this section, we'll answer your top questions about Christmas in Australia.
What's Christmas celebrated for?
Christmas is celebrated in a religious sense to celebrate the birth of Jesus, who Christians believe is the son of God. It is also celebrated by billions of non-Christians around the world who observe it as a cultural holiday centred around family, friends, and making memories.
How is Christmas celebrated?
Australians celebrate Christmas by decorating their homes, schools, and workplaces, putting up a Christmas tree, visiting family members and friends, exchanging gifts, and cooking delicious meals together. It's also a time for giving back to less fortunate members of society through gift drives, soup kitchens, shelters, and charitable projects.
Christmas is observed in every Australian state and territory – Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Tasmania, and the A.C.T.
Why did they call it Christmas?
"Christmas" is a shorthand way of saying "Christ's mass". "Mass" refers to the celebration of the Eucharist and "Christ" means "anointed" and refers to the Messiah Jesus Christ.
Why is Christmas important?
Christmas is an important religious celebration to Christians because it's a symbolic time in their faith. Culturally, it helps us take time for family and friends and remember what's really important in life – each other. Christmas is also an occasion of hope, and it sets the stage for the fun over the December/January holidays and New Year.
Was Jesus born on Christmas Eve or day?
Jesus was born during the night between the evening of the 24th and the morning of the 25th of December. The exact time of his birth is unknown, though his birthday is considered to be the 25th.
How do they celebrate Christmas in Australia?
Australia's Christmas celebration takes place during summer, so unlike much of the world, winter activities like sitting by the fire and playing in the snow aren't common. Instead, Aussies love to have a BBQ, go for a dip in the pool, go to the beach, go surfing, sing Australian Christmas songs, go for walks, and play games of cricket in the sun. Interestingly, though Mistletoe isn't associated with Australia, 97 species of the plant call it home.
What do Australians wear at Christmas?
Aussie Christmas usually occurs in the scorching heat! You won't see a woollen jumper in sight. Instead, Australians opt for bright and light summer clothes with sandals and hats. The one clothing item we share with the rest of the world on Christmas is those paper hats from Christmas crackers.
Do they say "Merry Christmas" in Australia?
Yes, Aussies say "Merry Christmas" across the holiday season, and you'll see it on cards, gift wrapping, and decor items, and hear it sung and said throughout December.
Why does Australia have 2 Christmas holidays?
Australia has two public holidays over Christmas – one on Christmas Day and one on Boxing Day. These public holidays are part of the 7 federal holidays that are celebrated on the same date in each state and territory.
|Australia public holidays 2023 (federal)
|New Year's Day
|2nd of January
|26th of January
|7th of April
|10th of April
|25th of April
|25th of December
|26th of December
Do Australians celebrate Christmas in summer?
Yes, Australians celebrate Christmas during the summer. There is an old myth internationally that Australians celebrate during the month of July, but there's no truth to this. Christmas in July celebrations aren't the same as Christmas Day celebrations, it's more of a casual holiday – like "Talk Like a Pirate Day" or "Pizza Day".
Where is the best place to spend Christmas in Australia?
The best place to celebrate Christmas in Australia is in the park or by the beach. The weather is often quite beautiful on Christmas Day, so it's the perfect time to get out your sandals and sun hat and enjoy it.
How did Christmas start in Australia?
The first Australian Christmas was celebrated in December 1788. Reverend Johnson performed a service for Governor Arthur Phillips and his cohort before eating Christmas supper. The Christmas traditions we observe today mostly came from the 1950s onwards, when Christmas became more affordable and accessible to the average family.
What day of the week is Christmas in 2023?
This year, Christmas Day falls on Monday, the 25th of December, 2023. Australia's public holidays for Christmas will fall on the 25th and the 26th. Christmas Eve will fall on Sunday the 24th – conveniently, part of the weekend.
Is Christmas on the 24th?
No, December 24th is Christmas Eve, December 25 is Christmas Day, and December 26 is Boxing Day.
What do they call Santa in Australia?
"Santa" is also called "Santa" or "Santa Klaus" here in Australia. The only difference between Australian Santa and the rest of the world is that Santa ditches his reindeer for some kangaroos when he's travelling here and he tends to lose a few layers of clothing to cope with the heat.