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Gravy Day: Why Australians are celebrating an unusual tradition

Paul Kelly's 1996 hit has everyone looking forward to Christmas down under.

Australians around the world have been celebrating Gravy Day this Friday, commemorating singer Paul Kelly’s 1996 hit How To Make Gravy which has become a Christmas classic down under.

The song, which references December 21 in the second line, tells the story of a remorseful prisoner writing home before Christmas, imagining friends and family coming together from across the country without him.

“Who’s gonna make the gravy now?” Kelly sings. “I bet it won’t taste the same.

“Just add flour, salt, a little red wine. And don’t forget a dollop of tomato sauce for sweetness and that extra tang.”

Happy Gravy Day.Love, Team PK#makinggravy #gravyday🎥 Ian Darling / Shark Island Productions

Posted by Paul Kelly on Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Some people have criticised Kelly’s recipe over the years but the song remains loved by Australians as a classic of the genre.

“Give my love to Angus and to Frank and Dolly,” he sings in the chorus. “Tell ’em all I’m sorry I screwed up this time.”

#GravyDay was trending on Twitter as Aussies shared jokes and memes.

Kelly discussed the inspiration for the lyrics in footage from a recent performance shared on his Facebook page to mark the day.

Having been asked to contribute a song to a festive charity album, Kelly was struggling to get started as “Christmas has been pretty much covered over the years”, he said.

So he listened to a few of the classics to get him started and White Christmas, written by Irving Berlin, stood out.

“The power of White Christmas was the fact that the person singing the song is not there at Christmas, but is wanting to be there.

“Irving intensified the feeling of Christmas by writing about not being at Christmas.”

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