Lest we forget: how we commemorate Anzac Day in Australia
From baking Anzac biscuits to attending Dawn Service, we’re taking a look at Anzac Day history and the ways we commemorate Anzac Day in Australia. Plus, we’ve got some gift ideas for family and friends from the Australia Post online shop.
On 25 April 1915 as the sun rose, Australian and New Zealand soldiers landed on the shores of Gallipoli, Turkey. Every year since, we gather to remember the Anzac legacy and the soldiers that have followed in their footsteps.
There are many different ways we can pay our respects on Anzac Day, whether it's rising for the Dawn Service or playing a game of two-up. Here are some of our favourites, plus a few of our top commemorative gift ideas from the Australia Post online shop to acknowledge this special day.
Reflect and remember at dawn
You may not be a morning person, but Anzac Day is perhaps the one day of the year it's worth setting your alarm extra early. Rug up, bring a thermos of tea and use the peaceful moments of the morning to reflect on the Anzac Day history. If you can't quite manage to get to a Dawn Service near you, you can still honour the Anzacs at home. During the COVID-19 pandemic, a new tradition emerged where people gather at the end of their driveway at dawn with a candle. It's a small but purposeful gesture to honour our service men and women.
Start the day with a gunfire breakfast
It’s tradition that the Dawn Service is followed by a gunfire breakfast—don’t worry, it's not as dramatic as it sounds. A gunfire breakfast was the term for the early cup of tea served to troops in the morning. These days, it can really mean anything you have for breakfast on Anzac Day, however, a coffee with a splash of rum seems to be a popular choice. If rum before noon isn't your thing, why not get your regular coffee order served in this Military Shop Reusable Cup to get into the Anzac spirit.
Remember our fallen soldiers
While Anzac Day was originally dedicated to honouring the Anzacs (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), it now commemorates all Australian and New Zealand servicemen and women, past and present. Reflect on the bravery and courage of Australian soldier Corporal Cameron Baird in 'The Commando' by Ben McKelvey. The book tells the story of a 2nd Commando Regiment Special Forces soldier who is one of a handful of Australians to be awarded the Victoria Cross since the Vietnam war.
Bake the official biscuit of the Anzacs
Munching on an Anzac biscuit is certainly the most delicious Anzac Day tradition. The exact history of these oaty, coconutty treats is hard to pin down but it's thought they were sent to soldiers in care packages during the First World War. Regardless of their exact history, they’re a simple and thoughtful way to uphold the Anzac spirit. Bake a batch of biscuits and share them with friends and family this long weekend.
Heads or tails? Play a round of two-up
You’d better play a round of two-up on Anzac Day, because it's technically illegal every other day of the year. The game features two coins, a kip and a spinner, and is basically a fancy version of heads or tails. You’ll find two-up being played at most pubs or clubs on Anzac Day, but you can keep the spirit alive with this Gallipoli Landing Two Up Set of your own.
Wear medals with pride
Learning about war medals is one way to keep the Anzac Day history alive. You’ll see soldiers and veterans wearing their medals on their left breast and if you want to honour the service of a relative, you can wear their medals on your right breast. This Military Shop Replica Collection includes high-quality replicas of each of the Seven versions of the Rising Sun hat badge and is the perfect gift for any military personnel or enthusiast.
Pin a poppy or sprig of rosemary to your coat
During the First World War, red poppies grew in the battlefields of northern France and Belgium and have since become a symbol of Anzac Day and war remembrance around the world. This Poppy Heart Diamante Brooch is something you can wear each year when Anzac Day rolls around to show a touch of remembrance. Rosemary is another popular symbol of remembrance and can be pinned to your chest or hat.
Learn about the history of our Anzacs
Whether you attend a Dawn Service or munch on an Anzac biscuit, the real Anzac Day meaning is captured in the phrase “Lest we forget”. Learn about the history of the Gallipoli campaign through 'My Gallipoli' by Ruth Starke & Robert Hannaford, a book that details what happened on the Gallipoli Peninsula during the eight months of occupation in 1915.