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145 nationalities celebrate Australian Citizenship Day

September 2013, 23
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More than 12000 people from 145 different countries around the world celebrated receiving Australian citizenship on 17 September 2013 as part of Australian Citizenship Day.
As part of the festivities, citizenship ceremonies were held all over the country with thousands of immigrants celebrating the day they became a permanent part of the Australian community.

Nationwide celebrations

With 48 large official ceremonies and hundreds of informal affirmation events, Australia takes Citizenship Day very seriously and ensures the occasion does not pass unnoticed.

Happy celebrations of Australian Citizenship Day
Happy celebrations of Australian Citizenship Day
Local officials presided over official citizenship ceremonies whilst participants turned up dressed to the nines, with a myriad of languages and cultures combining to celebrate the one common theme which joined everyone: Australia. 
Immigrants young and old took part in the proceedings, with some couples declaring citizenship after living in the country for as long as 50 years! Community leaders confirmed that the original nationalities of the new citizens were wide and varied. In one of the largest services which was held in South Morang, it is estimated that at least half of the participants arrived from non-English speaking backgrounds. 
Yet the all-pervading theme at every ceremony throughout the day was the great nation of Australia herself, with well-known and traditional Australian songs playing through tannoy systems everywhere.

The ceremony itself

If you have ever wondered what a Citizenship ceremony is like, this is your chance to find out. Australian Citizenship is a very public affair and participants were expected to take the Australian Citizenship Pledge in order to complete their application.

Australian Citizenship Day Ceremony
An Australian Citizenship Day Ceremony
The Pledge is available with two different wordings – one referring to God and another omitting this reference – but both act as a public declaration of the individual's commitment to Australia and confirmation of the acceptance of the responsibilities which accompany it. 
However, before reaching this point the majority of applicants will have had to score at least 75% of a test to prove their knowledge of Australia. Questions might include topics such as 'What happened in Australia on 1 January 1901?' and 'What colours are in the Australian Aborigine flag?’ 
Upon completing the official Citizenship registration, each individual was presented with a tiny Australian flag and a miniature native plant. Unfortunately they were not able to receive their certificates as these were still being processed due to a recent change in government. They will now be posted out to the individuals as proof of their legal status of Australian citizen.

Using social media

In addition to the formal proceedings taking place all over the country, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship urged people to carry out their own celebrations and upload photos and videos to social media sites using technology such as Instagram and YouTube.
The Department of Immigration's own website contains instructions about how to post the content and suggestions about what individuals should post. 
One suggestion includes making an affirmation starting with the words, 'As an Australian citizen, I affirm....'. Individuals should then go on to make either a light-hearted recording or a more serious declaration about what they will do. 
Video clips should be no more than 15 seconds long and can be viewed from the hash tag #AusCitzDay.
The Department of Immigration said it would be sharing the best entries from the uploads across social media sites such as Facebook, Storify and Twitter.

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