Australia is a vibrant and multicultural country — from the oldest continuous culture of our first Australians to the cultures of our newest arrivals from around the world. This Harmony Week 15 – 21 March, that is worth celebrating.
We especially come together to celebrate Harmony Day on 21 March. Created in 1999 to celebrate unity and diversity, Harmony Day was originally an Australian celebration but is now marked worldwide by conscientious citizens. The continuing theme of Harmony Day is Everybody Belongs.
Here are nine stories that will inspire you during the week. Called Food, Faith and Love in WA they were put together by the WA Office of Multicultural Interests and one of my favourite places, the Centre for Stories.
An integrated multicultural Australia is an integral part of our national identity. All people who migrate to Australia bring with them some of their own cultural and religious traditions, as well as taking on many new traditions. Collectively, these traditions have enriched our nation.
There are some fascinating statistics about Australia’s diversity that can be good conversation-starters:
- Nearly half (49%) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was,
- We identify with over 300 ancestries,
- Since 1945, more than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia,
- 85 per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia,
- Apart from English, the most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Tagalog/Filipino, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi.
It’s been heartening to see sport and the arts around the world unite in anti-racism messages over the last several years. Teams make a stand on the pitch/ground/court before every game. Sport transcends culture. It breaks down barriers and helps to build inclusive communities. Sport brings people together by sharing a common goal.
Our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are.
It makes Australia a great place to live.