3 ways to celebrate diversity for Harmony Day 2018

Australia is one of the most culturally diverse countries on the planet.

In 2016, the Australian Bureau of Statistics found 43% of Australians were born overseas, or were second-generation Australians.

  • England and New Zealand were the next most common nationalities after Australian-born citizens
  • Chinese citizens make up 2.2% of the population
  • Indian citizens make up 1.9% of the population
  • Filipino citizens are the sixth most common nationality in Australia

We hail from all over the world, and according to the Census, we speak over 300 languages throughout Australia, with one fifth of Aussies speaking another language at home.

Graphic with many languages from the 2016 Census

Image: Australian Bureau of Statistics

On March 21, Samaritans will be recognising Harmony Day 2018, an event which encourages the celebration and respect of cultures in Australia. We want to help all Aussies celebrate multiculturalism – check out our guide to fun things to do on Harmony Day!

What is Harmony Day?

Our multiculturalism makes Australia an amazing place to live.

It’s something worth celebrating – so we do!

Harmony Day is a nationwide celebration of diversity and a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home.

The event is held on March 21 to coincide with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, a push to eliminate racism globally and create an overarching culture of peace.

Harmony Day was created in 1999 and since then, more than 70,000 Harmony Day events have been held in schools, churches, businesses, childcare centres, and community groups across Australia.

Want to get involved?

There are countless group activities and event ideas to celebrate Harmony Day! Check out these creative ideas to help the community learn more about other cultures and multiculturalism in Australia.

#1. Include diverse cultural lesson plans in childcare centres and schools 

It’s vital to communicate the importance of cultural awareness in childcare centres and schools, so our kids can grow up with a strong respect for the people and cultures around them.

The Harmony Day website offers a range of fascinating lesson plans and activities for kids of all ages, including pre-school kids, primary school children, and high school students.

Early Childhood

Children in childcare centres are just starting their journey into the world. This is where kids get the building blocks of knowledge and communication, so it’s prime time to explain multiculturalism and diversity, plus teach them how to be respectful towards the community at large.

Primary Age

Kids around the age of 8 – 12 need extra encouragement and reinforcement to respect the cultures around them. At this age, children have developed loads of skills and memories which they will continue to build and expand over the next few years.

Primary school is one of the best places to teach children about cultural respect and acceptance.

Some lesson ideas include:

  • Discussing what harmony means, plus examples of harmony in the world or nature
  • Give an oral presentation of someone you admire who has a different cultural background
  • Discuss types of food you like, and how our favourite foods are influenced by other cultures

#2 Celebrate with a friendly dinner or throw a cultural food festival

Nothing brings people together like food!

Newcastle recently celebrated the Light Up Newcastle Lantern Walk, a cultural celebration of Chinese New Year with multiple vendors selling Asian food on the street, plus a late-night release of glowing lanterns to celebrate Asian culture.

Australian food is deeply influenced by other cultures. In fact, according to Menulog, our favourite cuisine Australia-wide is Italian food!

People love coming together to share food, so throwing a dinner or food festival can be great to celebrate other cultures. Take a moment to reflect on how other cultures and people have enriched your life.

#3 Celebrate cultural diversity in the workplace by decorating the office orange!

Did you know that over the last 70 years, 7 million migrants have made Australia their home?

Many workplaces are a rich mixture of cultures, and celebrating Harmony Day in the office can create some serious energy!

Harmony Day recommends dressing the office in orange – the Harmony Day colour of communication and conversation. It’s a simple change, but a fun way to get people involved in the celebration. I mean, who doesn’t love a themed mufti day?

By registering with Harmony Day, the organisation can send your workplace a range of promotional material and decorations to make your workplace a more accepting, multicultural place.

Celebrate multiculturalism in the workplace with Harmony Day’s orange decorations!

You can celebrate Harmony Day in a number of ways, from school to the workplace

Our multiculturalism makes Australia a great place to live.

There have been over 70,000 Harmony Day events since its creation in 1999, and schools, churches, businesses, childcare centres, and community groups have gotten involved across Australia.

Harmony Day provides Aussies with the perfect opportunity to celebrate our diversity. Our Australia includes people who migrate to our country, bringing with them some of their cultural traditions, as well as taking on new ones.

These diverse traditions and cultures have enriched our nation, changing our ideas about cuisine, music, culture, and more.