Christmas Carols (and whisky!) by Candlelight.
Christmas in Australia is different in many ways. We have an annual Carols By Candlelight event in Hobart that attracts thousands of people, who sit among fully leafed English deciduous trees, on (usually) dry green lawns after darkness falls – at 9:00pm. The event takes place in a beautiful park next to the famous Salamanca Market, where a myriad of locals wares are available as gifts or souvenirs every Saturday.
At the market I had heard the live, amplified sounds of Christmas Carols being sung nearby, albeit inconsistently in St David's Park. A mixed group was rehearsing for the big event that night and it was an interesting sight by Tasmanian standards – “Santa” would usually be in shorts and flip-flops, carol singers similarly attired, and a handful of casual spectators in t-shirts filling in for what would be, a few hours later, a crowd of 4,000 people. However this year we’ve had some unseasonably chilly overcast weather and it would have almost felt like the White Christmas that the singers were dreaming of once darkness fell!
There are many incongruous scenes that you see in Australia at this time of year, (like going to the beach or barbequing on Christmas Day), but the thing that stood out to me, was an article we’d seen in the local paper that morning about the upcoming Carols event, arranged and administered by the local City Council.
It mentioned that there would be no alcohol served at the event. “Obviously” I thought for a split second, before I continued reading that it was suggested that, because there’s none being served, people should bring their own!! Only a moderate amount of course, because it is, after all, a family event, but why wouldn’t you want a few swigs of whisky to lubricate your vocal cords on a cool summer night?