Harmony Day, the primary day of celebration during Harmony Week, is an important event on the national calendar. It’s a day in which the country celebrates our cultural diversity, united by principles of inclusivity, respect and belonging for all Australians: from the traditional owners of the land to those who have arrived from all over the globe to make Australia their home. The theme, ‘Everyone Belongs’ reminds us that we are united by the Australian values of freedom, respect, fairness, democracy and equal opportunity.
Led by the Australian Government Department of Home Affairs, Harmony Day was originally introduced in 1999 in response to that year’s United Nations International Year of Tolerance. Since then, the popularity of the occasion has grown and more than 80,000 Harmony Week activities have occurred. Across the nation, individuals come together to celebrate Harmony Week through various events and activities such as special assemblies at schools, cultural performances and multicultural picnics, plus more. For some, it’s as simple as sharing their own personal story or listening to the stories of others and sharing that with their community. Orange is the colour of Harmony Week, representing social communication, meaningful conversation, freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect.
Australia’s distinct multiculturalism contributes to a vibrant society, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics recording over 300 different ancestries among current Australian residents, and over 400 languages including 167 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages. Harmony Day serves as a reminder that everyone is worthy of respect, regardless of their background or beliefs.
This year, Northholm Grammar celebrated Harmony Day on Monday 20 March, recognising Harmony Week with a series of activities that acknowledged our multicultural community. These activities were supported by the Leadership Team, and led by Year 11 student Florence Kim. Students were invited to wear the traditional attire of their cultural background or support their nation with a sports jersey.
Highlighting the importance of coming together, Kindergarten through to Year 12 attended a whole school Chapel Service in the morning. Students of various ages and cultural backgrounds contributed to the Service, acknowledging the important place that Harmony Day has in our community. Primary Years students had the opportunity to taste a range of cultural foods prepared by our Secondary Years students at Recess, and then at Lunch, the Secondary Years students also had an opportunity to sample the diverse dishes.
One of the most important messages of Harmony Week, which we aim to communicate to students, is that we should strive for inclusivity, acceptance and harmony every day. Harmony Week is a wonderful opportunity for people to learn and experience cultures and ways of life different to their own. This leads to a deeper understanding of each other and builds in us values of empathy, compassion and respect.
Ultimately, Harmony Day serves as a reminder that everyone belongs, all the time. As a school that welcomes families of all backgrounds and faiths, and embraces diversity and inclusivity, Northholm Grammar appreciates and celebrates what makes every individual unique.