During the First World War, Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) made their first military action on the 25th of April. The day has since been celebrated as the anniversary of their involvement, and a special tribute to the soldiers who participated is rendered. The soldiers who participated are called the ANZACs as they led the fight for freedom and unity. To this day, the nation celebrates the lives who were lost during the wars on the day, and several traditions take place throughout the country.
The History of Anzac Day
Australia was a federated nation for 13 years before the war happened in 1914. The government was excited and wanted to be recognized as part of the other countries and put in their interest to join the battle. In August 1914, Britain put Australia on the Commonwealth side when they waged war. The Australian and New Zealand forces set out to fight for Gallipoli in the year 1915 for their first ever mission. The fighting in Gallipoli would allow the Dardanelles to be open for allies to enter. The purpose was to seize Constantinople which was then an ally of Germany.
On 25th April, the forces landed on the shores of Gallipoli. There they fought against Turks, and the war lasted eight months. The casualties from war were severe on both sides, and the forces left the Gallipoli Peninsula at the end of the year. Their hardships were harsh for the first war they had ever participated in with over 8000 soldiers who died in battle. The efforts of the soldiers shook the entire nation and the day they set out to fight is a revered day till today.
ANZAC Day Traditions
The first ever ANZAC day was celebrated n April 1916, a few months after the forces returned home. A whole variety of ceremonies were conducted throughout the country and abroad. In Britain, the day was celebrated with a march. In Egypt, a sports day was held at the Australian camp. Multitudes of soldiers and families marched through the streets of London in thousands and were called ‘Knights of the Gallipoli Peninsula.’ Convoys carrying soldiers were led through the streets of Sydney with even the wounded soldiers and nurses playing an active part. For a few years after that, the day was used to recruit soldiers and to conduct political rallies.
Over 60,000 people died in the war, and the soldiers were commemorated for their efforts in the 1920s by declaring the day to be a national day. Soon every state began celebrating the day with some form of activity or the other. As part of the culture and traditions for ANZAC day, the Australian States started hosting vigils, marches, services, reunions, and games. The result was that the ANZAC day became a much-recognized part of the Australian culture and served as a reminder to keep the country united.
The Services and night vigils that are held as part of the celebration is a military routine which the Australian army follows to date. Australians liked to attack at dawn and this the place where the vigil service tradition stems from. The Australian War Memorial has a national ceremony on the day that follows an order of service same as the very first one ever conducted. Indeed a goosebump-raising event that is telecasted throughout Australia and other parts of the world.