Australia’s Wattle Day means different things to different people. The golden wattle (Acacia pycnantha) is the Australian national floral emblem and Wattle Day heralds the first day of spring – and the promise that summer is on its way!
But did you know that to some it represents the friendship between Hiroshima and Australia?
It’s said the wattle was the first plant to bloom in Hiroshima after the tragic events of 1945.
Each year the Australian National Botanic Gardens in Canberra receives 1,000 yellow ribbons from the Hiroshima Acacia Appreciation Society to convey the message, “To wish you a happy life with fulfilled dreams. When a wattle starts to bloom, make a wish and your wish will come true.”
Wattle first appeared on the Australian coat of arms back in 1912 – but it wasn’t recognised as the official national floral emblem until 1988. Its connection to Gondwanaland, resilience, adaption and diversity make it a fitting symbol for Australians. It is said to have been sent to soldiers overseas to remind them of home and is frequently left at memorials.
For Australians there’s nothing like the first sight of beautiful yellow blooms as it suddenly appears through the thawing winter. It is the Australian symbol that spring has finally arrived.
If you’re in Canberra you can pick up a yellow ribbon at the Gardens’ Visitor Centre. The Hiroshima Acacia Appreciation Society suggests attaching it to your favourite tree.