How to host an Anzac Day party that honours tradition and history

Nothing describes the Anzac spirit better than being there for your mates. Throw an Anzac Day event to commemorate the occasion and celebrate your mates with these clever decorating and menu ideas.

Did you know there was a traditional meal associated with Anzac Day? No, it isn’t Anzac biscuits, although I’m sure a very good case could be made for all the different ways you can consume the delightful treats. Have you ever heard of a gunfire breakfast?

The idea of a gunfire breakfast actually originated from WWI and usually consisted of a rough breakfast of coffee/tea laced with rum before the soldiers resumed battle in the morning. It has evolved over the years to become a tradition, with RSL clubs serving a gunfire breakfast after the dawn service on Anzac Day every year — and they’re even allowed to serve alcohol… all in the name of tradition of course.

This year, attend a haunting and captivating dawn service and then invite the troops back to yours for a gunfire breakfast before retiring for a nanna nap.

Host your own Anzac Day event

Prepare for battle

Anzac Day is all about symbolism so a little research is required to get you in the theme and mindfully inspire your decorations.

  • Rosemary was found growing wild on the Gallipoli peninsula and is traditionally an emblem of remembrance that is worn on Anzac Day. Make a rosemary plant a centerpiece or make a wreath out of it and use it for your place settings.
  • Red poppies are also a common symbol of Anzac Day. We see them dotted next to names on the Roll of Honour at the Australian War Memorial and, according to folklore, they were the first flowers to sprout up in WWI battlefields after the war. Use them as part of a place setting or just be inspired by the brilliant colour to add red accents to your table.
  • The Ode of Remembrance is part of a poem by Laurence Binyon that is recited on Anzac Day. The crowd usually responds to the poem by saying, “We will remember them”, or “Lest we forget”. How about making your own placemats or table runner with this ode on it.
  • Host it outdoors. Not only will you identify with soldiers of the past, it is a great opportunity to make the most of somewhat cooler days and slightly more predictable weather patterns at this time of year.

ANZAC party placesetting

Feed the troops

There is not a lot you can do wrong when coming up with a menu for a gunfire breakfast. You could keep it traditional with bacon and eggs, make it buffet style with a mix of your favourite Aussie foods or make it an international affair by combining the best flavours of Turkey, Australia and New Zealand.

  • Drink: Be inspired by the vets and add a tipple of rum to the tea or coffee. Alternatively, make it a little bit fancy and serve strong black Turkish coffee.
  • Combine three cultures and serve toasted Turkish bread with vegemite and cheese.
  • How about this for a breakfast take on pavlova… think parfait with Aussie ingredients. In individual glasses or a glass serving bowl, layer Greek yoghurt with mixed berries, kiwi fruit and crumbled Anzac biscuits and meringue.
  • For a hearty, filling and sentimental addition to your breakfast table (and something you can easily make ahead of time), make bacon, cheese and rosemary scones. Start with your basic cheese scone and add diced, cooked bacon, rosemary and chives.

More: Try this Anzac biscuit recipe

You just may have started your own tradition and with 2015 being the celebration of a centenary of the Anzacs, now is the perfect time to keep the spirit alive.

More on what to do this Anzac Day

How to teach your children the importance of Anzac Day
Things to do on Anzac Day
Celebrate Anzac Day with ginger slice


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