We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community what Australia Day means to them. Here are their answers.
Australia Day is simply a day for me to get pissed and celebrate the pride that I have for my country, the land, and the people because I am so damn proud to call myself Australian. However I recognise and respect the negative significance for Aborginal people and I convey my utmost sympathy and apologies.
As an Aboriginal Australian, I am a proud Aussie and love this country... but as we remember the ANZACs, why do we not do the same for Aboriginal people? I'm not saying we shouldn't celebrate this beautiful, diverse, multicultural country. It's more the date on which the invasion started, the pain which they would endure, and the fact Aboriginal people were not even recognised as citizens for almost 200 years after. As a sign of respect I think the date should be changed. May 8 for sure!
–Samma Jurd, Facebook
My family is half Croatian, half Polish. Both sides of my family came to Australia in the 1960s. For as long as I can remember, every Australia Day we have gone to my aunt’s house to eat pork cooked on a spit for lunch. For us, Australia Day was about coming together and celebrating the opportunities that this country had given us, whilst celebrating our own culture and history.
I think that in true Australian spirit we should celebrate Australia Day and Invasion Day so we get two days off. Both event perspectives are important to our history and we should be given opportunity to remember them.
Our national day does not unite its people. It divides. And it continues to divide even as we become more aware. In an age of information at our fingertips and a more liberal understanding, we are still choosing to be ignorant of our privilege.
Stop letting people act like Indigenous Australians speaking out is an inconvenience to your way of life and your special day to sink piss in Southern Cross board shorts.
Australia Day could be on any other day of the year and honestly, you wouldn't care. Triple J hottest 100 would still rank your fave hipst3r_J@mz. Kmart will still sell giant blow up thongs with green and gold printed on them, and Indigenous Australians would no longer feel like we endorse the mass murder of their people.
–Elizabeth Wait, Facebook
Never have and never will celebrate the day Europeans invaded the Indigenous people and took their land from them. I usually stay at home, pay no attention to my fellow Australians and their bogan traditions, and instead spend the day researching Aboriginal culture.
For years I was excited for Australia Day, but now after learning and reading up on all the history surrounding it, it’s turned into another day just like any other. It shouldn’t be celebrated with that much gusto!
As an Australian-born Indian, as I have grown up, I have learned Australia Day is a weird day.
It celebrates the day white people invaded Australia. But white people are racist towards other cultures merging and celebrating. This billboard drama, the comments are disgusting saying how they aren’t Australian... in that case, neither are white people.
I definitely don’t recognise January 26 as Australia Day. To me it’s a day for white trash-types to celebrate racism, alcoholism, and colonialism while littering Bundy and VB cans all over our beaches and parks. The Australian spirit is always described as being about mateship, hard work, and a sense of humour, which is the opposite of what we see in the lead up to Jan 26 every year. Changing the date won’t magically solve racism, or teach overly-defensive white trash types to honour and respect the Indigenous people and our fellow Australians of colour, but it will certainly do something to move in that direction.
If Triple J decided to play their Hottest 100 countdown on a different day I’d say at least half my generation would get behind it and celebrate since that’s what it seems to be about for the majority of millennials.
Celebrating a day in our history is about recognising what happened on that day and understanding that it is our history. It may not be our proudest part of history but it is the most influential. Don’t change the date because then we haven’t recognised our history.
Australia Day to me means free food at all the sausage sizzles and after I claim my free food I go home and spend the rest of the day playing video games.
I love the idea of Australians coming together and celebrating this amazing melting pot of cultures but I do think that it is still right to respect whose land we are living on. I think having Australia Day on the 26th is a bit of a slap in the face to the Indigenous members of the Australian community.
Enjoy the sleep in, but let’s not forget what really happened and doesn’t get taught in schools.
I think we should respect the wishes of the Indigenous people and change it to Federation Day. I understand why it's Invasion Day to some, and how it can be really negative. I think it'd just be easier to change it and then we can all do the same stuff we normally do, minus the two and a bit centuries of systematic oppression and genocide.
–Jessica Toze, Facebook
I'm not really too fussed about Australia Day. I don't see the point in changing the date or changing the name because it is history and you can't change history. As for those people who consider it Invasion Day, that's their opinion and they are entitled to it.
–Bella Arnie, Facebook
Too caught up in the past to move forward in the future, my lord people just celebrate the day for what it is about: being Australian! Yes, it's a troubled past but the date was a moment in history where multiple cultures and people came together. Revel in that instead of dividing each other.
–Sholan Palavi, Facebook
It doesn't matter what day it is if you're a shift worker.
–Rhiannon Buley, Facebook
I think it's a day where we can embrace the country we live in and all its people, a day of remembrance, and a day all Aussies celebrate kinship. However I don't forget our history, and rather celebrate our future and what we can achieve.
–Samantha Taylor, Facebook