12/20/2008 - 12/20/2008 80 °F
For the last 26 years an event called the Carols in the Domain has been going on here in Sydney. It is traditional for everyone to come out to the Domain (a park near the Sydney harbor), light candles, and sing carols together the Saturday before Christmas. Dawn and I warmed up our singing voices and headed out to "spread Christmas cheer by singing loudly so all could hear."
The Christmas holiday officially kicked off 2 days earlier when we went to the IEP Christmas Party at Coogee Beach, but that was just a bunch of people getting hammered near the beach. The Carols was more of a traditional way to start the week of Christmas.
The Carols is a day long event with the main televised event starting at 8:30pm. We heard there was going to be 150,000 to 200,000 people there, so we decided to get out there by 3pm to beat the main crowd. Well, apparently the other 200,000 people had the same idea because the place was PACKED when we arrived. There was hardly a square inch of sitting space that had not been claimed by a blanket or person. Eventually we squeezed in between two blankets and staked our territory. At this point we were 3/4 the way back from the stage, but I think it was the best spot available.
A choir competition was going on and some groups of dancers were performing on stage when we arrived. You couldn't really hear or see what was going on, so Dawn and I just took in the beautiful day. We had bought a candle bag, which is a canvas bag full of free food & toiletry samples along with 4 candles. Among the free samples were a roll of toliet paper, dog biscuits, dog collar, jelly beans, vinaigrette peanuts, Women's Health magazine, facial wash, dried pumpkin soup, pancake flavored breakfast crackers, chocolate covered tea stirrers, "brekkie" juice, and much more. Dawn had also scored a free Red Bull upon entry, so she began reading the celebrity gossip magazine and sipping Red Bull. I opened the vinaigrette peanuts and the Women's Health magazine. It certainly felt like Christmas.
Once the sun started to set, Dawn pointed out heaps of birds flying in the sky over the park. She is always mesmerized by the birds in the parks and kept commenting on how many there seemed to be in the sky. I told her they were actually bats coming from the Botanical Gardens, but she was insistent that they were large, black parrots. It wasn't until they all started flying back towards us when the opening fireworks went off that we got a clear picture of a giant bat. Dawn no longer liked all the birds in the sky.
Everyone began lighting their candles. The host & hostess for the evening started the show on stage. Night slowly came over the park. You could feel the holiday cheer in the air as we began singing the first Christmas carol. The way the show worked is that a new celebrity would come on for each song and lead the crowd. Eventually the celebrities began singing by themselves to let the crowd take a break and just enjoy the show. The relaxing evening suddenly changed when The Wiggles came on to the stage. Everyone jumped to their feet and began cheering excitedly (and I mean everyone, including the drunk 40 year-olds in front of us, the teenagers behind us, everyone). The Wiggles are a kids' TV show (I guess) where they lead kids in dance and song routines. Here'a video of Hailey and Dawn dancing to the Wiggles.
Overall we had a blast. The red candle light (and blue light sabers) created a really cool atmosphere. We got to sing some carols and attend one of the most popular Christmas events in Australia. Christmas was coming.
Here's a video of the finale where all the celebrities came back on stage. They sang one last composition, of course led by the Wiggles at one point. There are fireworks at the end as well.