On Wednesday, 21 March we hosted our first Harmony Day assembly which celebrated inclusivity, diversity, respect and a sense of belonging. It was a wonderful celebration of all things multicultural through music, dance, food and costume.
We had parents present workshops on their country of birth. It was a brilliant opportunity to hear from the presenters and then ask those burning questions about customs, country and life.
Students played traditional kanta drums from Jamaica and learned about the importance of the music which formed the heartbeat of the nation. They got to meet the Big 5 in Zimbabwe and learned the traditional animal names in Shona (language). One of the students presented a powerpoint about their early childhood spent in Russia, what a day in life of a student looks like and the kinds of games they play. And in Indonesia, they heard about the official language, Bahasa and how to greet each other in Indonesian.
It was a great opportunity for our parents to share their language, culture, music and religion with the people living in this awesome country. It makes our school (and country) more diverse and interesting.
In 2010 my family had the privilege of becoming Australian citizens. It was such an exciting moment but also bittersweet in the sense that we were farewelling the past and stepping into what would be our future. Councillor Donald Mckechnie, who was officiating the ceremony, was greatly encouraging and advised newly naturalised Australians, “Don’t forget where you came from but bring the good things here, to Australia, so that we can all enjoy them.” We recognised how incredibly blessed we were to be part of this diverse country and that cultural richness added to the fabric of where we live and who we are.
All the different cultures that come together in Australia bring many things with them: different foods, ways of dressing, languages, customs and beliefs. Harmony Day is about celebrating these differences, embracing new cultures and making sure that everybody is included in society, as well as celebrated for their uniqueness.
When we promote the good things, say the good things and even look for the good things in others regardless of race, language or religion, everyone benefits.
When we treat others with respect, take the time to learn about other cultures and celebrate the wonderful richness of other people, we can help our country become a peaceful place, a harmonious place, a good place!