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Recognition and Respect

    When people gather in Australia, sometimes a smoking ceremony takes place. Or you may be offered a Welcome to Country. Both of these are ancient and sacred Indigenous rituals. Here’s why recognition and respect of our land’s traditional owners and custodians is so important.

    Smoking Ceremony

    A smoking ceremony being prepared
    A smoking ceremony being prepared in Sydney

    A smoking ceremony is a traditional Indigenous Australian practice that involves the burning of various plants, such as native grasses, leaves, and twigs.

    The specific plants used and the specific rituals associated with a smoking ceremony can vary from one Indigenous Australian community to another. The smoke generated by the ceremony is believed to have spiritual and medicinal properties. It’s used for a variety of purposes, such as purification, blessing, and healing.

    CeremonyCast live streamed a special mass at St Joseph’s College in Hunters Hill. Before it started, a smoking ceremony was held outside as people arrived.

    In conclusion, smoking ceremonies are typically performed by Indigenous Australian elders or other respected community members. You often see them as part of a cultural event or as a private ritual.

    Smoking ceremonies at funerals

    A coffin being doused in smoke during an Indigenous ceremony

    Sometimes a smoking ceremony can be held at a funeral. CeremonyCast live streamed a funeral at Mooney Mooney on the Central Coast where the coffin was given a special Indigenous blessing before the ceremony began.

    Welcome to Country

    A Welcome to Country is a formal acknowledgement by Indigenous Australians of the traditional custodians of the land on which an event is being held.

    It’s typically performed by an Indigenous Australian elder or other respected community member. Therefore it involves a speech or presentation in which the traditional owners of the land welcome visitors to their country.

    Acknowledgement of Country

    An Acknowledgment of Country is a formal statement or gesture by non-Indigenous people to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on which a particular event or meeting is taking place.

    It is often made at the beginning of a meeting or event. Additionally, this is a way of showing respect for Indigenous cultures and customs. Therefore it’s also a way of recognising the ongoing presence and connection of Indigenous peoples to the land.

    Guests walking through smoke as they arrive for a church mass
    People arriving for a church mass in Sydney walk through a smoking ceremony

    The importance of recognition and respect

    Welcome to Country ceremonies are important for a number of reasons.

    They recognise and pay respect to the Indigenous Australians who have lived on and cared for the land for thousands of years. They also provide an opportunity for Indigenous Australians to share their culture and history with non-Indigenous Australians and visitors, and help to create a sense of inclusivity and understanding.

    In conclusion, Welcome to Country ceremonies can help to build relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and promote reconciliation and healing.

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    About the author

    CeremonyCast Sydney Funeral Wedding Live Streaming Webcast Stephen Lee

    Written by Stephen Lee
    Owner, CeremonyCast​Professional Funeral Live Streaming

    Covering Sydney, Southern Highlands, Wollongong, Central Coast, Newcastle & The Hunter