National Wattle Day

Posted by on September 1, 2011

So it turns out that Daniel scored big-time by coming to Australia for September. Not only did he get Father’s Day in June in the US, he’ll get a second Father’s Day this Sunday in Australia.

And 3 days before that, September 1, is National Wattle Day.

What?

We’ve been looking into it online for about 10 minutes now, and we still aren’t sure what wattle is. But maybe that’s only because we keep dissolving into laughter. We found the Wattle Lady:

The name of this photo is "Maria 60th Small." Huh?

Apparently, she is responsible for Wattle Day. But what is wattle?

We found her home page, wattleday.com. But it doesn’t exactly say what wattle is. I guess any good Australian is supposed to know. It says,

National Wattle Day is celebrated throughout Australia on the 1st September each year. The day was originally conceived as a day to demonstrate patriotism for the new nation of Australia by wearing a sprig of wattle.

So that’s a clue… it’s a flower? The one she’s wearing in the picture?

If you scroll to the bottom of the page, however, things get a bit clearer:

Wattles are natural pioneer plants. They are the first to germinate after fire or flood. Being nitrogen fixers they help enrich the soil and provide protection for other seedlings growing underneath in a natural succession of the bush.

So I guess they are plants.

I click on the “History of Wattle Day” link and I finally have an intelligent understanding of wattle (found amidst other amusing phrases like “The Wattle Club,” and reference to a speech entitled, “Wattle Time: or yellow-haired September.”)¬†Yes, it’s a flower, and I believe it is the national flower. It’s an acacia, and¬†the word wattle comes from the green sticks used to reinforce walls made of mud and clay (since acacia branches are flexible and well suited to this). Apparently there are various species of wattle, and although the Golden Wattle was selected as the official flower, any genus of wattle is considered patriotic.

There you have it. And I didn’t even have to consult Wikipedia!

Happy Wattle Day!

2 Responses to National Wattle Day

  1. Monica Romig Green

    Oh! I’m so relieved! The only wattle I was familiar with was the turkey’s wattle, shown here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/betty_ashley/4302832284/ That would completely freak me out if Australian celebrated the turkey’s wattle, and even more so, if people were to wear them on their lapels. Yuck!!!!!

  2. Katie

    EWWW! Yeah, I don’t really see much about that to celebrate.

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