This past week Wednesday 21st of March, we celebrated Harmony Day.
We are so lucky to live in one of the most multicultural countries on the planet — from the oldest continuous culture of our first Australians to the cultures of our newest arrivals from around the world.
Today I have taken most of what is in my newsletter from the Harmony Day website, as I feel it is important to explore what this day is actually about.
Our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are. Multicultural Australia is an integral part of our national identity. All people who migrate to Australia bring with them some of their own cultural and religious traditions, as well as taking on many new traditions. Collectively, these traditions have enriched our nation. Harmony Day is a celebration of our cultural diversity – a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home.
Held every year on 21 March, the day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The message of Harmony Day is ‘everyone belongs’ and the day aims to engage people to participate in their community, respect cultural and religious diversity and foster sense of belonging for everyone.
Orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Day. Traditionally, orange signifies social communication and meaningful conversations. It also relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect. Australians can choose to wear something orange on 21 March to show their support for cultural diversity and an inclusive Australia. In our school we also encourage children to dress in the traditional dress of their cultural background.
There are some fascinating statistics about Australia’s diversity that can be good conversation-starters:
- around 45 per cent of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was
- we identify with about 300 ancestries
- since 1945, more than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia
- 85 per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia
- apart from English, the most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, Vietnamese, Tagalog/Filipino, Spanish and Hindi
- more than 60 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia.
These facts are taken from ABS 2011 Census Data. Check out the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.
Please enjoy the photographs below of our Harmony Day celebrations.
Have a wonderful week ahead!