It is a national public holiday for Australia and New Zealand as well, we are meant to stop what we are doing and take some time to remember the ANZACS who fought for us at Gallipoli in Turkey in WWI.
ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. Sadly, more than 8,000 Australian and 2,700 New Zealand soldiers died at Gallipoli, it was a complete disaster. ANZAC Day is now not just for remembering the lives lost at Gallipoli but all the fallen ANZACs.
ANZAC Day starts with the dawn service where we pay our respects to the fallen Diggers (that's what we call ANZAC soldiers). A bugler plays The Last Post and we have two minutes silence. People lay floral wreaths on the memorials and prayers are said.
Later in the morning we have the ANZAC Day Parade where all returned soldiers from all the wars will march in each capital city. It is shown on TV and people line the streets to watch. Now many young people march, they wear their grandparents medals and march on their behalf. Some veterans don't like that and there has been some controversy in the past but I think they are over it now and every seems to march together happily.
Later in the day, people (like my husband) go the pub and play Two-Up. It is a weird gambling game that is only allowed to be played legally on ANZAC Day. I have never played it but my husband, the avid gambler, loves it and goes along every year to one of the oldest pubs in Sydney in The Rocks and plays with his mates. The way it works is one person is the spinner and he tosses two coins up into the air and the people playing will gamble on whether the two coins will land heads up, tails up, or one head up and one tail up.
One year my drunk husband came home with his winnings. I had a look in his wallet and found a few FAKE $50 notes. We were horrified that someone would be so awful as to do that on ANZAC Day. They were obviously fakes but as with most people playing Two-Up late into the afternoon, he had had a few drinks and didn't notice the scam until I showed him. When he thought about it, he remembered a few young men who had joined the game later on. "They didn't look like your typical Two-Up blokes" according to my very patriotic husband. So there you go!
Another thing we do on ANZAC Day is baking. ANZAC Biscuits are easy and fun to make and the Tinker and I will make a batch this afternoon. They came about after women used to bake them here and send them overseas to the Aussies diggers to eat at war. They keep really well! Here is a recipe for you to try from taste.com.au and some photos of the dawn service taken from News.com.au:
1 cup (150g) plain flour
1 cup (90g) rolled oats
1 cup (85g) desiccated coconut
3/4 cup (155g) brown sugar
2 tbs golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Preheat the oven to 160°C. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Sift the flour into a large bowl. Stir in the oats, coconut and brown sugar.
Put the butter, golden syrup and 2 tbs water in a small saucepan. Stir over a medium heat until melted. Stir in the bicarbonate of soda.
Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until combined.
Roll level tablespoons of mixture into balls. Place on the trays, about 5cm apart.
Press with a fork to flatten slightly. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
Set aside on the trays for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack so it cools completely
Edited to add a few more photos. These ones are from The Age