Anzac Day - A Most Important NZ Public Holiday

The 25th of April, a public holiday, is called ANZAC Day, which is celebrated by New Zealand and Australia. It is the most important day to remember and honour soldiers who landed in Gallipoli in Turkey, during the First World War. Today however the day remembers all soldiers who lost their lives in war and honours returned service men and woman.

ANZAC stands for Australia New Zealand Army Corps.The New Zealand and Australian soldiers were all volunteers, called the Anzacs.

Gallipoli and the role it plays on ANZAC Day

The ANZACS landed at Gallipoli Peninsula on the 25th of April in 1915. Mission was to gain a strategic advantage through capturing Constantinople, today's Istanbul, and to secure a sea route to Russia. The attempt failed. Heavy casualties occurred on both sides from April 25 in 1915 to January 9 in 1916. An inevitable tragedy arose when the troops landed by mistake at a coast occupied by the Turks which led to a blood bath. Quickly this day was announced a remembrance day. Turkey tourist regularly take off to Gallipoli tours from Istanbul to visit the memorial of the Turkish and ANZAC troops.

In April 1916 Tinui was the first community to hold an Anzac Day ceremony to commemorate the deceased. It is a little town near Masterton in New Zealand. In 1920 the day was made an official public holiday of commemoration. In 2006 its 90th anniversary was marked.

The western front of Gallipoli Peninsula, where the bloody battle had taken place, was lined with poppies. To symbolize the bloodshed during the war poppies and rosemary’s are used as a sign of remembrance. During the week before the 25th April Mostly artificial poppies are sold all over New Zealand and Australia in the form of pins. The funds raised go to the welfare of all veterans and in remembrance of the dead.

A widespread tradition on ANZAC day is to bake ANZAC biscuits. Bakery with ingredients that could handle the long naval journey to the battlefields where the soldiers fought for "King and country".

At the actual day dawn services, marches, memorial services, reunions and dawn vigils are some of many ways New Zealanders and Australians commemorate their fallen soldiers. Most of these events are organised by RSA’s (Returned Services Association).

Celebrations on the public holiday - 25th April

The Auckland War Memorial Museum holds two halls in which the names of all the soldiers who passed in major conflicts of the 20th century. The ANZAC ceremony is held at the cenotaph situated outside the museum.

By the ANZAC act of 1966 no shop is allowed to open before 1pm.

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