Is Christmas Eve a Public Holiday?
Christmas Eve in Australia is not considered a public holiday but part-day holiday in selected states. Business and retail stores, shopping centers etc. close after 7 PM local time till midnight in South Australia and Northern Territory. On the other hand, the closing time begins after 6 PM local time in Queensland.
In Australia, Christmas Eve isn’t considered a holiday, but since it’s a festive season, employees may be given a half-day off. However, restaurants, shopping malls, retail stores and gift centers remain open on this occasion late till night. Schools, colleges, universities and other academic institutions remain closed on this day. Some private sector offices may deal with clients under restrictive timing. Local public transport services can follow a restricted schedule on this day and operate within a limited period.
Christmas Eve History
Christmas Eve history holds relevant significance and commemorates the beginning of its observance. Christians Eve in Australia is seen as a preparatory day for Christmas, which commemorates the birth of Christ. Also known as “Christmas Evening”, or “Night Before Christmas”, the first official Christmas Eve celebration in Australia was carried out on December 24 in 1788.
It was in the same year itself that Christmas Day was widely celebrated for the first time at Sydney Cove. Governor Arthur Phillips officiated a traditional Christmas meal and raised a toast to King George III with his officers on Christmas. Since then, this practice of celebrating Christmas Eve has been carried out annually with great enthusiasm and festivity.
Christmas Eve Celebrations in Australia
Known to be one of the popular Holidays 2023 in Australia, Christmas Eve ignites a sense of love, unity and affection in the hearts of people. Let’s take a look at how Christmas Eve is celebrated across Australia:
- Christmas Eve in Australia is spent mostly preparing for the big day, i.e. Christmas Day. People shop for gift items for their kids, grandchildren, relatives, friends and office colleagues.
- Luncheons and get-togethers are held in offices on Christmas Eve, where both seniors and juniors bond and make the most of the opportunity. However, Christmas Eve is considered a part-holiday in many regions, which is why employees may have a half day, some even a full day.
- People on this day visit the beaches, surf along the tides, dress up in clam colors and breezy clothes, play cricket, tennis or beach volleyball, swim and set up barbecues, famously known as “Barbie” in Australia. A huge crowd can be seen at some of the famous beaches in Australia on Christmas Eve.
- Some may plan and visit their friends and relatives residing in other countries during the Christmas Week, where the weather is cold.
- Christmas Eve is the time when people prepare for delicious meals and lip-smacking delicacies and entertain guests. Since Barbeque and grills are set up on the night of Christmas Eve, Australians love a good plate of barbecued prawns.
- It also seems that Australians love to sneak some Christmas Cookies baked specially for this occasion. After dinner, everyone sits around on the night of Christmas Eve and snacks on some sweet Christmas Cookies baked with love.
- Decorations are carried out in full force, where people excitedly put up lights, decorations such as Glass Baubles, Bilbies, wooden kangaroos, images of Australian Santa Claus, koalas, and flowers such as Christmas Bush, Christmas Bellflowers and Christmas Orchids.
- Roman Catholics in Australia attend Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve, and pray for good health, prosperity and happiness.
- Carols by Candlelight is a famous tradition followed by natives in Australia. In this, people, along with their loved ones, gather outdoors on Christmas Eve and light candles, after which they sing Christmas Carols. This gives out a concert-like vibe and is said to be a beautiful sight to remember.
- The Vision Australia’s Carols by Candlelight held at the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne is televised across the country on Christmas Eve.
- It is customary to place a “Holly’’, a flowering plant, in the doorway during the Christmas Week. Doing so is believed to drive away evil spirits.
Christmas Eve Traditions in Australia
In Australia, several Christmas traditions have their own versions modified over time. In Australia, a unique depiction of Santa Claus has been created by various Australian songwriters and authors. According to them, Santa Claus is seen wearing an Akubra hat, breezy shirt and summer clothes while riding an Ute pulled by white-colored Kangaroos. Therefore, Australian Santa Claus is said to be a unique version of the life-like entity.
According to traditions, Santa Claus or Father Claus is seen wearing a red suit with snowy furry cuffs, having a big pot belly and white beard. However, since it’s Summer during Christmas Eve in Australia, a more breezy version of Santa Claus is depicted.
Another popular tradition followed by Australians every year during Christmas Week is sending Christmas Cards to their families and loved ones. It is a heart-warming tradition followed by Australian families, where they write good wishes and blessings for their loved ones and post during the Christmas Week along with Christmas gifts.
Christmas Eve Wishes & Greetings
Here are some Christmas Eve wishes you can use to greet your loved ones on this auspicious occasion:
- Christmas Eve is a time to celebrate with your friends and family. May the peace and joy that Christmas brings always be with you and your family. Have a blissful Christmas Eve.
- Hope this Christmas Eve fills your heart with love of God and may God turn your dreams into reality. Wish you a very sparkling Christmas Eve.
- Merry Christmas Eve, all! Hope your stockings are all bursting in the morning (and not with coal).
- May your Christmas Eve sparkle, and your Christmas Day shine!
Christmas Eve Observances
|2019||Tue||24 December||Christmas Eve||Part Day Holiday, Observance|
|2020||Thu||24 December||Christmas Eve||Part Day Holiday, Observance|
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|2022||Sat||24 December||Christmas Eve||Part Day Holiday, Observance|
|2023||Sun||24 December||Christmas Eve||Part Day Holiday, Observance|
|2024||Tue||24 December||Christmas Eve||Part Day Holiday, Observance|
|2025||Wed||24 December||Christmas Eve||Part Day Holiday, Observance|
1. What kind of clothes are worn by Australians on Christmas?
Since it’s Summer in Australia on Christmas Eve, people dress up in summer clothes, shorts, dresses and hats.
2. What is the weather during Christmas Eve in Australia?
During Christmas Eve, Australians witness hot weather and celebrate this day at beaches.
3. How is Australian Santa Claus different from other depictions?
Unlike other traditional depictions of Santa Claus, Australian Santa Claus is dressed in summer clothes in white and seated in a sleigh pulled by Kangaroos.
4. Is Christmas Eve a bank holiday in Australia?
Christmas Eve is considered a part-time holiday in several parts of Australia, and isn’t a full-day bank holiday. However, it may vary from state to state.
Christmas Eve Celebrations in Other Countries
From the above information, it is evident that the festival of Christmas Eve 2023 in Australia is celebrated on December 24, Sunday. We hope you have liked this article on Christmas Eve in Australia. Thank you for being an important part of AstroSage.