Archive | November, 2012

Melbourne Cup Parade

13 Nov

A few weeks ago, while planning our project schedules, someone mentioned that November 6 is a holiday because it’s Melbourne Cup Day. Being the newbie here that I am, I asked aloud – “What’s the Melbourne Cup?” Everything stood still and all eyes were suddenly on me. A colleague asked in disbelief, “Do you really not know what the Melbourne Cup is?!?”

So there, it turns out that Melbourne Cup Day celebrates Australia’s major horse racing event and is a particularly big holiday.. Festivities start on the weekend prior to the race. Women take the chance to dress up in bright, colorful spring wear and fashionable hats. Bets are placed, not just to support their favorites or in the hope of winning, but more so to be able to join in the festive mood. Race day is a holiday not just in Melbourne, but in the nation’s capital, Canberra. During the race proper itself, it’s not just people in Melbourne who stop to watch but most of Australia as well.

Out of curiosity, I was planning to watch the Melbourne Cup Parade since Swanston Street is a few streets away from where my office is located. But being my slow self ;), it took me some time to finish my lunch and travel to Swanston (ok, fine, should’ve walked instead of waiting for the tram :p) so I came just as the parade was coming to an end!!

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Got to hand it to these folks in the photo below for having such strong conviction to brave the throngs of race enthusiasts and stage protests while the parade was on –

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I wish I were taller (and came earlier!!) so that I could have captured how big the crowds were that day. The streets were lined up with people from all ages, sizes and shapes. Actually amazed that even really old people took effort in going to the parade. I am used to Swanston Street being crowded all the time, but I’ve never seen it this packed and abuzz 🙂

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