While you're sipping a VB and cooking those snags, you might wonder a bit about what Australia Day actually is. January 26th commemorates the day in 1788 on which Captain Arthur Phillip landed in Sydney Cove and raised the British flag, but to many Aboriginal people this day holds a different significance. This marks the day they lost sovereign rights to their land, subsequent loss of family and a peaceful way of living very close to the land. In light of this, it seems a little incongruous to celebrate such a sad day, however, there are some alternatives being offered in most capital cities in 2013.
Many people prefer to call Australia Day, Survival Day, which acknowledges the Aboriginal people, while remaining positive about events which have occurred. In Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, Survival Day provides a great excuse to hold several big music and cultural festivals and everyone's invited - Belgrave Survival Day, Share the Spirit Festival, Yabun Festival, Survival in Perth and Saltwater Freshwater Festival, Taree.
The sixth annual Belgrave Survival Day Festival will take place on January 26th, 2013. The focus will be on children's activities, hip hop and the 150th Anniversary of Cooranderrk Mission Station in Healesville. Wurundjeri elders Uncle Bill Nicholson and Aunty Dot Peters will be speaking on the day and there is a busy program of Indigenous music, starring Benny Walker and Lady Lash. There will also be plenty of storytelling, face painting, dance workshops and how to make damper workshops on the day.
The eleventh annual Yabun Festival will take place on Jaunuary 26th, 2013. This is the biggest single day Indigenous festival in Australia, with about 25 000 attendees. "Yabun" means "music with a beat" in local Aboriginal language and the music is the focus of this festival, with two live performance stages and many free workshops on offer. Red Ochre Award winning, country music star, Warren H. Williams will be the highlight of the 2013 festival alongside Frank Yamma and burlesque performer, Constantina Busth.
The Survival Concerts have been held in Perth since 2000, and is also a popular event. Perhaps Perth's biggest water slide is a major draw card or maybe it's ARIA and Deadly Award winner, Casey Donovan as the headline act? Anyway, this year's concert looks like a fun place to enjoy Survival Day in Perth.
Adelaide's National Aboriginal Cultural Institute hosts another great festival with plenty of Indigenous music and culture. The kids will love the water slide, community stalls, face painting and performers including Warren Milera, Tony Miniecon, Nancy Bates, Eddie Peters and Jack Buckskin.
These are just a few events around the country - please check your local media for details and wherever you find yourself on Australia Day, maybe have a little think about the original inhabitants of the land and give thanks for all that they've sacrificed.