ANZAC Day in New Zealand
ANZAC Day in New Zealand: A Day of Remembrance and Honour
ANZAC Day, celebrated on the 25th of April every year, is a national day of remembrance and honour in New Zealand. The day commemorates the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. This day is not only observed in New Zealand but also in Australia and several other countries.
ANZAC Day has been observed in New Zealand since 1916, following the tragic events of the Gallipoli campaign during World War I. The first ANZAC Day services were held on April 25, 1916, to remember the soldiers who had lost their lives in the Gallipoli campaign which began on April 25, 1915. The day has since evolved to remember and honour all New Zealanders who have served in wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations around the world.
National customs for ANZAC Day in New Zealand
ANZAC Day is a public holiday in New Zealand, and various customs and traditions are followed to mark the day. One of the most significant customs is the dawn service, held at war memorials throughout the country. These services usually consist of a military parade, followed by the laying of wreaths, the playing of the Last Post, a minute of silence, and the recitation of the Ode of Remembrance.
Another tradition is the wearing of red poppies, which symbolize the blood spilled by the soldiers during the war. The poppy has become a symbol of remembrance and is worn by many New Zealanders leading up to and on ANZAC Day. Fundraising campaigns selling poppies are organized by the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RNZRSA) to support veterans and their families.
Local customs for ANZAC Day in New Zealand
Local customs for ANZAC Day in New Zealand may vary depending on the community and the specific events planned. Some communities may hold parades, while others may have more informal gatherings at local clubs or pubs. Schools and other educational institutions often hold special assemblies and teach lessons about the significance of ANZAC Day and the sacrifices made by New Zealanders in various conflicts.
In recent years, there has also been a growth in interest in visiting Gallipoli to attend the ANZAC Day services held at the site of the original landing. Thousands of New Zealanders and Australians make the journey each year to pay their respects and to better understand the experiences of the soldiers who fought there.
ANZAC Day in New Zealand is a solemn day of remembrance, honouring the service and sacrifice of those who have fought for their country. From dawn services to the wearing of red poppies, the day serves as a vital reminder of the past and an opportunity to reflect on the values of courage, comradeship, and commitment that the ANZACs represent.