Melbourne is a city with high standard of living and unique culture. Melbourne Cup Day is just one of the many holidays which show how citizens of this second largest city in Australia nurture cultural traditions and try to preserve them for years to come. This amazing racing and social event happens every year at the Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday of November and is very significant for Melbourne. The number of people who attend the event proves this as there are 100,000 live attendants and 650 000 television viewers every year. Hence, every year, right before 3 pm, people leave what ever they’ve been doing to watch or attend the main race of Melbourne Cup Day and enjoy this interesting holiday with their friends, family or colleagues.
Melbourne Cup Day tradition began more than a 100 years ago, as the first Flemington race was held in 1861. A competitor named Archer was a back-to-back winner of the race when this tradition started. The whole event includes several types of races, one of which is the unique handicap race where 20 thoroughbreds compete for for a 6 digit prize in Australian dollars. Melbourne Cup Day is also known for the legendary fast horse caller Phar Lap – a thoroughbred that won many races around 1930s and was called Australia’s fastest horse. The story went on to be recognized as a beautiful script for a movie.
However, this holiday doesn’t allow a day off for all Australian workers, rather just for those living in Victoria. Some of these even use their day off to volunteer with organizational activities associated with Melbourne Cup Day. It’s a holiday of racing, but also helping and mutual bonding between the citizens of Melbourne with one cause – preserving and maintaining the authority and culture of Melbourne as it is recognized worldwide. For those who do have to go to work on this day, often finish early and attend office parties or other corporate event where office managers share gifts like gourmet gift hampers, wines, monthly bonuses, etc.
And at the Flemington Racecourse, it is a familiar view every year. Guests dress up elegantly in dresses, suits and hats to show off their latest fashion apparel. Many celebrities are part of this event and can usually be spotted in VIP lounges in stands or local restaurants enjoying this day just like other visitors. Racers are probably main celebrities on Melbourne Cup Day finishing the celebration with amazing races, all kinds of gourmet gift hampers, champagne and some of them with the winning medals as well.