Happy ANZAC Day! Now tell me what this is, Aussies.

This much I know:

“a commemoration of the day in 1915 when the
Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the
Gallipoli peninsula in what is now Turkey and
proceeded to get slaughtered by enemy forces during
the Ottoman campaign of World War I.”

Tell me more about it, and how you are celebrating.

And, since there’s a thread in the Pit about how some people apparently have a problem with celebrating it…

Can you enlighten us on that? What’s the issue?

Okay, I’ll have a go at this.

I’ll start by telling you what it’s not: it isn’t the official national day of either Australia (Australia Day, Jan 26) or New Zealand (Waitangi Day, Feb 6), but for many (most?) Aussie and Kiwis it’s the most important one.

The first thing you’ll notice is that it comemmorates a military DEFEAT! There is a sense of the “coming of age” of the two young nations as their soldiers struggled with British high-level military and political incompetence (though we have respect for the British and French -and indeed Turkish - soldiers who also died), disease, insufficient medical help, exposure, and of course, a steady pounding from the Turks in their superior position. The ANZACs had been landed in an ill-advised beach assault, and even then had been sent to the wrong beach, so they were faced with a mad scramble up a steep hillside / cliff face, whilst the Turks, who had the high ground, were able to pick them off as they tried to advance. Yet they kept coming.

The legendary Simpson and his donkey

It’s also an unusual day in that it is shared by two nations, and it brings us closer together (ie. we stop making sheep jokes about each other once each year).

The problems reprise mentions are unfortunate, although I think she had an unusually bad experience with them. Apart from a few student /lefty types who don’t like it, ANZAC Day is not very controversial. Not, at least, compared to the controversy surrounding Australia Day (Aboriginal Australians are none too impressed with that one -and with a certain amount of justification, IMHO).

Reprise’s response to those people she spoke to was correct. They should not expect us to put issues from their respective home countries ahead of ANZAC Day. Simple as that. Australia is a melting pot, and that’s a thing I cherish. I would like to see, however, new arrivals (and indeed our own schoolkids) better versed in history and civics than is presently the case. That’s partly the fault of the people themselves (geez, if I were moving permanently to another country, I’d be reading up on its history BIG TIME), but also the fault of our own government for not pushing the issue. A basic history quiz (in other languages too, if you like) should be a part of the citizenship process.

So how do we celebrate ANZAC Day?

It starts with a dawn service in the cities and towns around Australia and New Zealand. A haunting Last Post, a minute’s silence, readings, and prayer. In the morning, there is the ANZAC Day march for veterans, currently serving forces personnel, and family members of veterans. In a big march like Sydney’s, it can take a very long time to pass by completely.

After that, it becomes less sombre, and everyone repairs to the local RSL (Returned Services League) Club, or the pub, for a few beers, and a game of “two-up” which is an illegal form of gambling tolerated by the authorities on ANZAC Day only.

The story of ANZAC

ANZAC day was the first time Australians and New Zealanders fought under Australian (and NZ) flags and officers. As TLD said, it was the making of a nation.

The ANZACs were the Australian and New Zealand servicemen who fought in WWI, the term has come to mean any who have ever represented their country. (On a personal note, my great-grandfather was one of the first ANZACs who came ashore on ANZAC day 1915 at Galipoli - see this thread.)) Australia sent over 6% of it’s entire population to WWI (when you factor out the women, children and those too old to go, the percentage of elible boys who went it astounding) and not one was a conscript. A greater sacrifice percentage wise than any other nation.

ANZAC day is special. Australian’s don’t like to show their patriotism much, but on ANZAC day, we wear it with pride. Veterans from every conflict we have been involved in (WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, East Timor, most recently Afghanistan and others that I forget) march through the centre of almost every city or town (even small country towns) to remember the fallen, and so that the rest of us can honour them. Dawn services are held around the country, and at Galipoli (tens of thousands of young australians attend every year). Descendants march in place of those who are not around anymore. And recently, allies of the ANZACs have also been allowed to march.

For me personally, it is a special day. We go and watch my grandpa march (until this year, he was too old to march). I can rarely make it through the day without a tear coming to my eye when I think about the boys who didn’t make it home.

ANZAC day is a proud day. Solemn rememberance coupled with gratitude and celebration of the peace we enjoy.

We’re doing something for ANZAC day here in Hawaii at Punchbowl, the National Military Cemetery of the Pacific. I can’t find any links to what’s being done this year though. Apparantly Punchbowl isn’t on the web yet.

But they’ll probably give a 21 gun salute like last year. And then there will be ceremony. So here in the US we’re with you.

Osiris, thanks for sharing that with us, and of course thanks to the US Military for remembering us each April 25th.

It’s also worth noting the little town of Anzac, Alberta, Canada. It’s a railway town, and apparently, many of the men building the line were veterans of the Gallipoli campaign, and named the town in honour of their Australian and New Zealand comrades.

Does the celebration involve making anzac biscuits? They’re good, but except for the molasses, they’re the same as our oatmeal cookies('least using the recipe we got to make them for the “possum magic” project)

Not as such, ANZAC biscuits can be made and consumed any time. I don’t recall ever specifically making or eating them because it was ANZAC day.

I don’t recall molasses in my bikkies though - golden syrup yes, molasses, no. Yum, now I’m hungry - they’re best when they’re still warm and soft…

One unusual aspect that has grown in the last 20-30 years is the increasing number of Aussies and Kiwis that travel to the battle field, especially for the dawn service on the anniversary.
They arrive the evening before and wait out the night on the slopes down to the beach where the soldiers came ashore, usually in good order and quiet sobriety(again, unusual for Aussies!), and participate in the memorial services in the area - the dawn service at the beach, an 11am service at Lone Pine, etc. Usually a bigwig like the Prime Minister or the Governor General is on hand to make a speech. Most of the visitors are the younger generation, backpackers who see their attendance as a right of passage.

What strikes me is the demeanour of the locals to these hordes of foreigners who clog up their narrow lanes and farmland to revere the people who invaded their homeland. Can you picture the people of San Antonio faced with 20000 Mexicans recalling the Alamo, or DC being flooded with Brits, all celebrating the burning down of the White House?

But the Turks are very accomodating, and in a real sense join in the occasions of memory. It is a flow-on from the speech of Ataturk after the war, telling the mothers of the soldiers who had died in Turkey that they (the Turks) would look after them, they were in a new home now, and at rest.

My fellow Aussies have beaten me to it. There’s not much I can add.

Perhaps it’s worth mentioning that the ceremonies marking Anzac Day has grown in popularity over the years. Only 17 Australian World War I veterans are still with us. Of the 50,000 Anzacs that stormed the beach at Gallipoli, only one, Alec Campbell, remains to us. However, even as the living memory of the events Anzac Day commemorates fades, the crowds that turn out to celebrate this de facto national day swell. I was with 20,000 others at yesterday morning at the summit of Kings Park, Perth for the dawn service. In all, 30,000 people throughout my State - consider our tiny population - turned out to pay their respects. “Lest we forget”, indeed.

The words of Ataturk were quoted a few days ago, in the Pit. They’re worth quoting again:

robinc308 looked this up originally; thanks for reminding me of it.

Two-Up … they haven’t mentioned Two-Up.

After the Dawn Service, the March and the beer we play two-up. A simple, fair, gambling game tossing two coins backing either heads or tails. While you can now play it now at most casinos, for most of the last century it was only played in illegal two-up schools … except on ANZAC day, when any two-up game is legal.
http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/ga1998168/s6.htmlRules of Play

As was mentioned in a previous post, it seems that ANZAC day has actually become more important in recent years for us Aussies. There is certainly more hype associated with it than I remember from my youth.
That could be for a number of reasons: Most of our Gallipolli veterans have passed away, and we seek to commemorate their memory by our marching, or maybe…
(and this is MY gut feeling)…
ANZAC Day is the dinkum Australia Day, and the one time when we can experience a true sense of nationhood, despite our differences. It is a time when a real feeling of community arises within an otherwise disengaged population. We’ve ‘used’ ANZAC Day as a surrogate occasion to bring us back together…even if it is only in our disgust about the antics of one (now retired) Bruce Ruxton!
Sure, it’s about paying our respects to the thousands who have died for our future, but I think it goes further than that now. In some ways it is like a yearning for the past: when the world WAS black and white (and I don’t mean that racially), when you could rely upon your mate, and when ‘danger’ was identified by a bloke with a gun. Life WAS simpler then, despite the incredibly high price that many of our young fella’s had to pay.

Now maybe I’m wrong (I often am), but I reckon that ANZAC DAY evokes a stronger patriotism than Australia Day ever did or could. And I believe it is getting stronger because our personal links to a sense of ‘community’ are diminishing with the alienation that is so prevalent in our society.
And I reckon the Diggers would approve.

Couldn’t agree more kambuckta.

As a young person, ANZAC day evokes a lot of feelings in me. I think there’s also the factor that my grandparents are quickly fading, and I want to know more before it’s too late, and in the process, I’m learning what heroes they and their parents were.

great thread, folk. thanks to you “down-underers” for the wealth of information.

Oops, you’re right. Now that I think about it, it was light corn syrup, not molasses. Molasses was the ingredient for another snack. The real question though, is do you ever put chocolate chips or raisins in the biscuits?


[PT Barnum]
Get your genuine SDMB ANZAC biscuits here. The only ANZAC biscuits that are sugar frosted and choc coated.[/PT Barnum]

The key to ANZAC biscuits is they were (are) cheap to make, store well and transport well.

As to embellishments, well there are recipies with currants and sultannas (not raisins), Macadamia nuts and wattle seed. Chocolate could be included in the recipie, but I doubt they’d be called ANZACs

I suppose one could. But the wouldn’t be ANZACs.

ANZAC biscuits were first made by the diggers in the trenches at Gallipoli. It was a way to make their rations (which weren’t overly appetising) a bit better. Thus, they contain only rolled oats, coconut, flour water, butter and golden syrup. Very basic set of ingredients.

i don’t think it’s been mentioned, so for those of y’all who don’t know:

ANZAC = Australia New Zealand Army Corps

i’ve always associated anzac biscuits with anzac day. while they aren’t exclusively reserved for the holiday, my family would always have them at that time. the ingredients might be basic but they’re very tasty - especially warm and soft, as mentioned earlier.

i also noticed that subway has been selling anzac biscuits in addition to their usual choc-chip and double-choc cookies - so i’m guessing that other people relate them to april 25 as well as me.

The RSL have trademarked Anzac biscuits and are prosecuting people who make and sell adulterated versions of them. The Byron Bay Bsicuit Company had to pull their version off the market because of the wattle seed.

So you can add chocolate at home but not to sell. There was an interesting article in the SMH last weekend about this.

oh, duh. it’s in the op. so i guess y’ can file my little bit of info unde redundant.