It’s Australia Day and people around are chanting “Aussie Aussie Aussie oi oi oi” over and over again with tourists and recent arrivals to this fair land wondering what is going on.
Australian flags are everywhere and not just fluttering from government buildings.
Some are wearing shorts with the Australian flag design, others have thongs, towels, T-shirts and even bikinis with the colours and design.
“This is a surprise to us foreigners because in our country our flag is almost sacred and definitely wouldn’t be allowed to be displayed in that way,” a tourist from Vietnam said. “In fact, you would be arrested and and asked to explain yourself to a very stern judge.”
Australia doesn’t regard their flag with such decorum and awe but they celebrate their patriotism just the same by incorporating the flag in as many ways as possible.
While koalas look very cute and cuddly on TV, visitors and Australians should know that they actually don’t like to be touched or stroked.
These are not tame animals so respect their freedom – if you must touch them at a petting zoo, just pat the top of their heads very gently and briefly.
And when it comes to kangaroos, always take care when near kangaroos, especially in the wild.
Particularly young children shouldn’t approach even the smaller ones without close adult supervision – not even in a petting zoo.
What about other Australian culture?
Greeting: When someone says “how are ya?” they are not expecting a reply such as “I am doing OK but could be better etc” as they are just saying hello.
Unique words: Boardies for boardshorts, barbie for barbecue, arvo for afternoon, footy is football (not soccer), shout means a round of drinks in the bar or lunch, snag is a sausage, etc.
Bring a plate: When invited over for a barbie and told to bring a plate, they means a plate of food to share with everyone, not just a plate.
Slang: Despite what you may have heard, women are not called “sheilas” although “mate” is acceptable, generally between blokes.
Tipping: This generally isn’t done anywhere in Australia. At the same time, don’t expect there to be a porter waiting to carry your heavy luggage up three floors unless you are staying in a swanky hotel.
Helpfulness: Most Australians are keen to help you if you do get stuck. But don’t rely on this.
Queuing: Don’t push to the front or jump the queue - this is very un-Australian.
Out of respect: The traditional landowners don’t want people to climb Uluru. From October 26, 2019 you won’t be allowed by law.
Enjoy Australia Day.