Unit 3: Signs of Celebration

Level 3 Australian Curriculum (Year 3)


This unit is about the enduring practices of celebrations and ritual, and the role of symbols within these. In this unit students examine a variety of different celebrations in order to develop understandings about how celebrations are an important part of any community. They explore how celebrations are consistent across time and cultures. They compare several celebrations such as; Eucharist, Aboriginal smoking ceremonies and Anzac Day, to find similarities and differences. They investigate why, when and how different people celebrate and explore the values that underpin celebrations. During the unit they will discover that some celebrations are traditional and have been conducted over long periods of time, and that many of these commemorate a special event.

This unit could be taught in conjunction with preparation for Eucharist.

Key Concepts

Significance, culture, ritual, community


  • Rituals and symbols reflect things that are significant to communities and cultures.
  • Rituals are a way to connect with community, celebrate the things we value and remember the past.
  • There are many different Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ceremonies where laws and stories from The Dreaming are acted out.

Rich Question

How do symbols and rituals reveal what people value?

Contributing Questions

  • What rituals and symbols are important in our families?
  • How and why do we celebrate?
  • What rituals and symbols are important to other people?
  • How and why do different communities celebrate?
  • What is unique about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ceremonies and celebrations?
  • How and why do people choose to remember significant events of the past?

Important Cultural Information

Before commencing this unit please check ‘Yarra Healing’ for important background information regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. http://www.yarrahealing.catholic.edu.au/TeachingandLearning/EssentialLearningandUnderstandings


Written texts
Wallam, A. and Kelly, S. 2004, Corroboree, Cygnet Books, Western Australia.

Ciddor, A. 1995, The First World War Through Children’s Eyes, Macmillan, South Melbourne.

Cummings, P. 2013, Anzac Biscuits, Scholastic Press

French, J. 2014, A Day to Remember, Harper Collins

Hoy,C. and Johnson, B. 2005, My Grandad Marches on Anzac Day, Lothian, Sydney.

Greenwood M, and Lessac, F. 2008, Simpson and His Donkey, Walker Books, NSW.

Walters, C, and Mullins, P. 2007, Only A Donkey, Viking, Melbourne.

China: A Portrait of the Country Through it’s Festivals and Traditions, Fiesta Series, Moondrake, 1998, Reed Educational, Port Melbourne

www.topics-mag.com/internatl/holidays/festivals.htm contains brief information texts about festivals and celebrations around the world.

www.nationaltreasures.com.au This website contains symbols of important historical events in Australia such as Gallipolli. Click on the icon to reveal the story behind the symbol.

http://www.shrine.org.au/Home This is the website of the war memorial in Melbourne which has great information, stories and teacher resources as well as details of excursions and exhibitions.

http://www.awm.gov.au The Australian War Memorial website is also a great source of information and stories related to Anzac Day.

www.indigenousaustralia.info/culture.html contains information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ceremonies as well as stories from the Dreamtime.

www.vaeai.org.au/regions/index.html You can find your Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (LAECG) through the VAEAI website.

http://www.cam.org.au/acmv Aboriginal Catholic Ministry website.

Audio Visual

Reconciliation Gayip video

Video clips of a recent Anzac Day march or ceremony

http://www.awm.gov.au/education/schools/memorial-boxes/ Memorial boxes containing artefacts from Wars Australia has been involved in, and Anzac day memorabilia can be borrowed from the Australian War Memorial. These can be accessed in any state.