Harmony Day, a day of cultural diversity
Today is Harmony Day, a day where hundreds of thousands of Australians from all walks of life are taking part to celebrate our cultural diversity. 50 years ago the United Nations declared an International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination which coincides with today’s Harmony Day. It’s a day to celebrate Australia’s diversity, a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home.
Around 45 per cent of Australians were born overseas and apart from English the most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, Vietnamese, Filipino, Spanish and Hindu. As a migrant nation when we bring together experiences and connection from all over the world, it opens our minds and promotes harmony and social cohesion. Australians are encouraged to wear orange clothing as a national observance of our cultural, linguistic and religious diversity. This is one occasion it doesn’t matter if you have an accent or your skin is a different colour as rather dividing or separating us, we bound together through our diversity, in who we are, where we are from and connecting multicultural communities. Harmony Day provides opportunities to embrace the things we have in common and enhance our intercultural understanding. Our diversity creates an interesting and vibrant place to live and our acceptance of people and their culture captures the spirit of ‘Everyone Belongs’.
As a nation we are privileged to experience a rich diversity and the vision of everyone respecting and embracing every culture is wonderful. It is my hope that Harmony Day will not be one day, but a permanent sense of unity where regardless of culture or religious background everyone can be safe, accepted and respected in our community everyday.
To demonstrate how diversity and inclusion enhance our community and understand the benefits of cultural diversity, this year’s theme is ‘Our diversity is our strength’. To celebrate living in harmony both my local community and my workplace held events about inclusiveness and a sense of belonging for everyone. Nothing brings people together like food and in our local park a free event was held to bring families of all nationalities together. The community could learn how to cook traditional Indian food with a cooking demonstration and sample foods from a range of cultures. There were also music and dance performances, Turban tying and Sari styling sessions, free Henna painting and a Harmony Tea house. As a third generation Australian it was a pleasure attending the event bringing together so many cultures from around the world. Parking for the event was strictly ACROD (disability permit holders) and the general public had access to a free shuttle from the local college which ran continuously for the duration of the event.
At work all staff received an invitation last week to attend a shared lunch for the occasion. We were asked to bring along a plate of food to share from our cultural background or a country we had recently visited. Staff was offered the challenge of a cultural cook off. It was an amazing selection of food showing what a diverse workforce we have and we enjoyed sharing our Taste of Harmony lunch. The range of diversity and life experiences from our rapidly growing cultures at work really highlighted everyone is equal in enriching our organisation. Together we enjoyed a range of curries from India and Thailand, Eccles Cakes from UK, Australian meat pies, lamingtons, BBQ sausages, Oneh Oneh (sweet potato balls) from Malaysia, some Columbian Patacones from Fried Green plantains (bananas), sushi, Prawn rolls, risotto, even a Kangaroo stew.
Did you celebrate Harmony Day? Have you been to celebrations for Harmony Day?
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