Wednesday, February 20, 2013

His: Living in America 2/20/2013

           As regular followers of the blog may know already, I grew up in Australia and moved to America a little over 11 years ago. During this time I have gotten used to the American way of life but have noticed a multitude of differences along the way. A lot of times I don't notice certain things are different until I am presented with a certain situation and I realize that this particular thing is done quite differently in Australia. I have toyed with the idea of writing about these topics and thought this blog would be the perfect place to do so.

         This past Monday was President's Day. Since I didn't study U.S History in high school (regretting that decision now) I didn't know a whole lot about the holiday so I did a little research prior to writing this post. It was first established in 1885 in honor of George Washington's birthday and interestingly enough is officially known as "Washington's Birthday" by the federal government. Outside of the federal government it is known as President's Day and is a day to celebrate all U.S presidents, past and present. Most government workers and schools get the day off (unless they have to make up days for snow) and it's a good day to sleep in and enjoy a long weekend. The only other thing that I noticed about President's Day is that the furniture and car dealerships use it to advertise President's Day sales and tout the greatest prices of the year.

      Australia does not have a president so they do not have President's day. The head of the federal government is the Prime Minister but this person is not directly voted by the Australian people (that is a topic for another post). Rather than having a "Prime Minister's Day", Australians celebrate the birthday of the head of state, Queen Elizabeth II. This is observed on the second Monday in June. There are no special parades or even Queen's Birthday car sales that I remember. It's just a low key long weekend where you get to spend some time with family or get away for a couple of days.

   As you can see these two holidays are somewhat similar but unique in their own way. There are several other holidays like July 4th and Thanksgiving that are not celebrated in Australia at all. Then there are others like Easter and Christmas that are celebrated on the same day in both countries. To make things even more interesting there is Father's Day which is celebrated in June in America but not until September in Australia (which means if I want to send my dad a father's day card I have to buy it in June and not lose it before I send it sometime in September. As my Dad will tell you I have not been very successful at this so far.) Thankfully Mother's Day is the same in both countries or else I would be eternally confused.

     My hope is to make this Living in America posting a weekly occurrence until I run out of ideas (which should take a while). If you have any ideas or feedback I would love to hear it. On the subject of holidays, which is your favourite holiday?


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