Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Bec. Bec Wonders, “Why do they use rosemary to symbolise anzac and rememberance day” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Bec!

Can you think of any major national holidays? These may vary based on where you live. If you’re in the U.S., you may think of July 4. In Mexico, your mind may jump to September 16. If you’re from Australia or New Zealand, though, another date might pop into your head—April 25!

What holiday falls on April 25? Anzac Day, of course! That stands for Australia and New Zealand Army Corps. Since World War I, the name “Anzac” has described soldiers from Australia or New Zealand. During the war, both countries were still part of the British Empire. They fought with the Allied powers.

Why is Anzac Day on April 25? It’s meant to honor April 25, 1915. That day, the Anzacs joined soldiers from other Allied nations in battle. They invaded the Gallipoli peninsula in Turkey. Their goal was to take the city of Constantinople, which is now called Istanbul. 

The Anzacs would spend the rest of 1915 fighting on the peninsula. 8,500 Australian and 2,779 New Zealand soldiers lost their lives. At the end of the year, the Allied powers evacuated without reaching their goal. The eight-month campaign led to major losses on all sides. Turkey, France, and Britain also suffered thousands of casualties.

The first Anzac Day was observed the very next year, in 1916. Since then, it has become a national public holiday in both Australia and New Zealand. It’s a time to remember soldiers from both nations who have died in war. 

How do people observe Anzac Day? They usually start with a dawn service. This ceremony often includes prayer and singing. People also join in a period of silence and listen to their national anthem. The service ends with the Last Post. This is a bugle call often played at military funerals.

Later in the day, service members will often walk in a parade. In Australia, many people wear rosemary. This plant is very common on the Gallipoli peninsula. It’s worn to remember the Anzac soldiers who lost their lives there.

Many people also make Anzac biscuits on April 15. These are a sweet mixture that often includes oats, flour, sugar, coconut, and golden syrup. Where did this tradition come from? During times of war, families often sent food to Anzac soldiers. These biscuits were a popular choice because It took food a long time to reach the soldiers. They kept their flavor and nutritional value on the long journey.

Have you ever observed Anzac Day? Do you have a similar holiday where you live? Many places have special traditions for remembering fallen soldiers. How does your country do so?

Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.7,

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