Harmony Day

12 Feb, 2018

Our diversity makes Australia a great place to live. Harmony Day, a celebration of our cultural diversity, is approaching soon and is a day of respect for everyone who calls Australia home. Join us in celebrating this important occasion.

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 aims to engage people to participate in their community, respect cultural and religious diversity and foster sense of belonging for everyone.

Since 1999, more than 70,000 Harmony Day events have been held in childcare centres, schools, community groups, churches, businesses and federal, state and local government agencies across Australia.

Coordinator of CALD services Esther Mwathi said Harmony Day celebrates Australia's wonderful diversity and provides us an opportunity to show that we value difference.

"Celebrating diversity is an important aspect of life in a multicultural society because as we acknowledge our differences, we also uncover common interests, and this serves to unite us and broaden our minds," she said.

"Celebrating diversity can and should be done every day in various ways, most notably in the way we relate to one another.

"Displaying positivity, understanding and tolerance towards one other, each and every day, is key to acknowledging that difference does not mean disharmony. This will in turn contribute to growth in the community."

How to celebrate?

Let’s come together with friends and family and through schools, workplaces and our wider communities to celebrate our diversity on and beyond 21 March.

Getting involved can be as simple as hosting an event or attending a local celebration. Visit this ‘Get involved’ page for more information.

You can connect with Harmony Day on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for more information including simple ways to celebrate our diversity every day.

Why orange?

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.

Our cultural diversity

Australia is a vibrant and multicultural country — from the oldest continuous culture of our first Australians to the cultures of our newest arrivals from around the world.

Our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are. It makes Australia a great place to live.

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.

Facts and figures

There are some fascinating statistics about Australia’s diversity that can be good conversation-starters:

  • nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was
  • more than 70 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia.
  • we identify with over 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, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Tagalog/Filipino, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi

These facts are taken from ABS 2016 Census Data. Check out the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.

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