Natalie Di Paola
March 21 marks a special day throughout Australia: Harmony day.
Started in 1999, Harmony day celebrates the cultural diversity throughout Australia, embracing the theme that “everyone belongs”. It also coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which aims to promote tolerance and respect for racial diversity.
“Harmony Day celebrates Australia’s modern multicultural character by encouraging people to come together with friends, family and our communities to share our cultural heritage and traditions,” says Hon Alan Tudge MP, Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs.
“We are one of the most culturally diverse nations in the world, with almost half of all Australians either born overseas or who have at least one parent who was.
“I encourage everyone to get involved and register an event.”
Australians can get involved in the day by hosting events such as morning teas, sporting days or cultural themed mufti days in schools. Over 3,500 events were held last year, and over 70,000 events have been held since its conception.
Participants are also encouraged to wear orange, which signifies mutual respect, open communication, meaningful conversation and the freedom of ideas.
Residents of the North Shore can also get involved in the day, with events including:
Lantern Making Workshop and Lantern Parade
From the 15-18 March, participate in a lantern making workshops at either West Chatswood or Naremburn library. Participants are then encouraged to bring their lantern and be a part of the Lantern Parade at Chatswood Mall on Friday 23 March at 6:30pm.
The parade will feature lantern balls and pyramids and illuminated letters that spell out Harmony. The event also includes live music and performances. Lanterns can also be brought from home and dressing in traditional cultural clothing is encouraged.
For more details on lantern making workshop sessions, visit https://www.willoughby.nsw.gov.au/EventDetails.aspx?PageID=1892&eventid=5232
Kaleidoscope of Lane Cove
Celebrate the diverse community of Lane Cove by dropping by Lane Clove Plaza on Friday 23 March. From 3:30pm-6pm, the event includes interactive activities, free entertainment and more. At 6pm there will be a screening of The Jungle Book (PG).
Polish Easter Egg Painting Workshop
On Wednesday 28 March, Polish folk artist Kasia Jacquot demonstrates and teaches basic egg painting techniques. The event is enjoyable for kids and adults, and is held at Lane Cove Plaza from 3:30pm-5:30pm. Hollowed egg shells, patterns and markers are provided.
Harmony Day at Pacific Square, Maroubra
Visit Pacific Square on 21 March from 11am-2pm for fun activities including face painting by Ability Link, henna art and free giveaways.
There will also be cultural performances, including Sydney Choir, Greek Musicians and Chinese Dancers.
The event also features many stalls, with local stall holders including Maroubra police, Anglicare, Randwick Council, Sydney Multicultural services, Community Greening and The Junction Neighbourhood Centre.
Randwick TAFE Harmony Day
Celebrate Harmony day at Randwick TAFE food and drink, music and balloons. The event will also feature speakers from counselling and disability services and headspace. Get involved on 21 March from 10am-4pm.