What does Harmony Mean?
HARMONY – it’s a word I very much like. It’s a word that brings to mind things like peace, calm, connectiveness, compatibility, tranquility and unanimity. The Oxford dictionary defines the word as ‘The state of being in agreement or concord’. Some sentence examples:
‘There will be a time, too, when comfort is provided to those who have suffered and died, when the world will be irrevocably returned to the harmony intended for it.”
“We’re proud of being Nova Scotian, and all we want to do here is live in harmony with other communities in an atmosphere of mutual respect.”
Today – 21 March – is Harmony Day
Harmony Day celebrates Australia’s cultural diversity. It’s a day for all Australians to embrace cultural diversity and to share what we have in common. The central message for Harmony Day is that ‘everyone belongs’, reinforcing the importance of inclusiveness to all Australians. 21 March is also the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Harmony Day is a community celebration that aims to engage Australians, particularly young people, in celebrating inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone. Our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are. Multicultural Australia is an integral part of our nation’s history and character.
Orange has been the Harmony Day colour since the first day it was held in 1999. Traditionally the colour orange relates to social communication, stimulating two-way conversations. It aids in the development of new ideas and frees the spirit of its limitations, giving us the freedom to be ourselves. At the same time it encourages self-respect and respect of others.
Visit www.harmony.gov.au for more information, to register your harmony day event, to see what events are on near you. Read how you can get involved, if not for this year’s Harmony Day, but for the next. Read some inspirational personal stories or perhaps you’d like to catch up by reading relevant media releases. You can even tell and submit your own story!
Find the full song lyrics HERE
Where they can sing their song
And live in harmony
With neighbours, friends and family
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to live in a country (a world even!) where no-one ever felt excluded, alienated, alone, demeaned, belittled, unaccepted, lesser than, or frightened. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to live in a community where absolutely everyone felt a sense of acceptance, belonging and respect. Wouldn’t it be awesome if there was no racism, no sexism, and no bullying.
Though this is going a wee bit outside the dimensions of what Harmony Day is about – I wish that everyone in the world could feel SAFE.
Cultural Diversity – What it is and some Australian facts and figures
‘Cultural Diversity’ is the existence of a variety of cultural or ethnic groups within a society. It refers to differences among people because of their racial or ethnic backgrounds, language, dress, religion and traditions.
- Almost half of Australians were either born overseas or have a parent who was
- More than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia since 1945
- We identify with around 300 ancestries
- Over the past 70 years, more than seven and a half million migrants have made Australia home
- 85 per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia
- Apart from English, the most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, Vietnamese, Tagalog/Filipino, Spanish and Hindi
- More than 60 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia.
Is Cultural Diversity a two way street? I think so to some degree. I believe that Australian’s are more likely to embrace cultural diversity when immigrants to Australia make an effort to learn, understand and respect the Australian ways, culture and language, and assimilate as best they can. Thankfully, this most often seems to be the case!
Do you think everyone who lives in Australia feels they belong?
I think Australia has come a long way in accepting and embracing cultural diversity, but there is always more progress to be made. Here’s an example of Australia embracing cultural diversity and make its people feel they belonged: It was in 2014 during the tragic Martin Place siege in Sydney. Trending worldwide, the #illridewithyou hashtag was a response to a number of Muslim listeners who called Australian radio stations to say they were scared to travel in public as the siege unfolded. The campaign started a national wide trend where Aussies offered to stand up for Muslims being targeted unfairly on public transport. Users offered to ride on public transport with anyone feeling intimidated. They posted their travel plans and invited others to get in touch if they were going the same way and wanted a companion. I felt proud of Australia on this day.
On the subject of multiculturalism, I love this quote by Alice, who was born in Georgia (with Russian Grandparents) and arrived in Australia at the age of 7 not speaking a word of English:
Being multicultural is like having a well-stocked pantry. It offers more variety and a richer result for your community.
Are you celebrating Harmony Day in some way today? How do you think Australia is doing at making its residents all feel like they belong? What do you think could be done better? What do you think is being done well? Any other thoughts you’d like to share?
Ciao for now,
Linking up with Kylie Purtell – Capturing Life for #IBOT