Loves going out and about, drinking coffee, eating chocolate, and writing about her adventures!
Because everyone belongs
Everyone belongs. That's the theme of Harmony Week, celebrated every year in March in Australia.
Harmony Week is being celebrated this year from March 15-21, culminating in Harmony Day on March 21. Since first held in 1999, Harmony Week has grown to become a significant time for Australians to come together and celebrate our nation's cultural diversity.
Harmony Week is all about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.
Harmony Week celebrates Australia's rich cultural diversity. Australia is one of the most successful multicultural countries in the world and we should celebrate this and work to maintain it. Our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are. An integrated multicultural Australia is an integral part of our nation's history and character.
Being inclusive and supporting everyone to belong in our society is particularly important in our world today. Here in Canberra, we pride ourselves especially on the welcoming, culturally diverse city that we are. After all, we host the National Multicultural Festival every year, and we are also home to embassies from all over the world. However, we can still do so much more to make sure that everyone belongs in our homes, neighbourhoods, workplaces, schools, and communities! Here are some ideas to help you learn more about and celebrate our multicultural diversity during Harmony Week, and every other week in the year:
1. Get to know your neighbours, co-workers, fellow parents at your school, etc who have a different ethnic heritage to yours. Start simply, with a friendly smile and a friendly hello. If you're stuck for ideas on what to say or if you don't feel brave enough to start a conversation, then check out these great conversation tips from the Neighbour Day website.
2. Learn about a different culture. With the internet, we literally have the world at our fingertips! So use it wisely and well to find out more about a co-worker's country of origin, for example, or the ethnic heritage of the grandparents of your child's best friend. Learn more at your local library, or watch SBS (Australia's multilingual and multicultural broadcaster) as well as NITV (National Indigenous television).
Make it a point to learn more about the rich diversity of human experience. Learn about the histories of other societies, cultures and countries. There's just so much we are ignorant of. So the best thing to do is to never stop learning!
3. Try different cuisines, particularly those you've never tried before. Thanks to our multicultural society, Canberra is a foodies' paradise, with an amazing range and diversity of cuisines such as Chinese, Italian, Indian, Filipino, Afghan, Indonesian, Malaysian, Nepalese, Vietnamese, French, Japanese and Greek. Why not try something different this weekend?
4. Learn a different language, dance, music style or art. Have fun, get fit, make new friends, and learn about a different culture through language, music, movement, dance and art. You can learn Mandarin, Japanese, Italian, French, Greek, Filipino, or Arabic. You can learn Bollywood dancing, Irish dancing, folk dancing, belly dancing, or flamenco. You can learn Scottish piping and drumming, African drumming, Japanese drumming, tai chi, or martial arts. Get into Chinese brush painting, ikebana, or henna painting. Find something that interests you and that you can commit some time to.
5. Celebrate different cultural traditions and holidays.
That's one of my favourite things about living in a multicultural society: there are plenty of holidays to celebrate! Holidays such as Lunar New Year, St Patrick's Day, St Nicholas' Day, Easter, Hanukkah, Christmas, Diwali, Holi, Eid Al Fitr, Halloween, Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, and Passover.
6. Visit a significant cultural site/place.
Explore our multicultural landscape by visiting Lennox Gardens in Yarralumla where you will find the beautiful Beijing Garden and the Japanese Nara Peace Park, each garden celebrating the sister city links between Canberra, Beijing and Japan's ancient capital, Nara. There's also St John's Anglican Church in Reid which is the oldest church in Canberra, linking the city with its colonial European past. You can also go further afield and explore the majesty that is Nan Tien Buddhist Temple in Wollongong or the beautiful, peaceful surrounds of the Cowra Japanese Garden and Cultural Centre.
8. Find out more and learn about Canberra's indigenous heritage.
Learn more about our indigenous heritage. Aboriginal people have lived in the Canberra region for over 20 000 years. Why not visit Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve and explore its ancient Aboriginal connections? You can also learn more about the First Australians at the National Museum of Australia. Visit the National Gallery of Australia which is home to the world's largest collection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art. And be sure to join in the NAIDOC Week events in Canberra. This year, NAIDOC falls July 5-12.
Wear Orange for Harmony Week!
Orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Week. Traditionally, orange signifies social communication and meaningful conversations as well as freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect. Wear something orange during Harmony Week to show your support for cultural diversity and an inclusive Australia.
For more information on Harmony Week 2020, please visit the webpage here.
"We are one, but we are many
And from all the lands on earth we come
We share a dream and sing with one voice:
I am, you are, we are Australian."
From the song 'I Am Australian' written by Bruce Woodley and Dobe Newton