Harmony Week – Everyone Belongs

From 15 to 21 March this year Australians will celebrate cultural diversity during Harmony Week. The message for the week is everyone belongs.

Harmony Week is about inclusiveness, respect and belonging for everyone, regardless of cultural or linguistic background – topics that are close to our hearts at CREATE.

From the oldest continuous culture of our First Nations people to the cultures of our newest arrivals from around the world, our cultural diversity is at the heart of Australian society. Harmony Week is a time to reflect on the importance of respecting each other and our differences.

Did you know?

  • Nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was.
  • 85 per cent of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia.
  • More than 70 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia.
  • Apart from English, the most common languages spoken in Australia are Mandarin, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Tagalog/Filipino, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi.

These facts are from ABS 2016 Census Data. Check out the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.

Cultural identity is an important element for developing a young person’s sense of self and belonging, so young people in care should be able to stay connected to culture, or given opportunities to explore their culture, if they wish to.

In CREATE’s 2018 National survey young people were asked to rate how connected they felt to their cultures on a rating scale from 0 (Not at all connected) to 100 (Very connected). Overall, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people rated their connection as 56.8 out of 100, whereas the Other Cultures group rated their overall connection as 43.8 out of 100 (McDowall, 2018).¹

“[My culture is important to me] because it makes you who you are, having the connection to that part of my identity is really important.” (Female, 24)

So how can you celebrate Harmony Week?

Wear orange. Orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Week. Traditionally it signifies social communication and meaningful conversations.

Share food or traditions from your own culture with others, or try different foods. You could have a (COVID-safe) lunch or morning tea where everyone brings a plate of food from their cultural background.

Play games from other cultures like Mahjong from China or Bocce from Italy, or take a look at these art and craft activities from around the world.

Attend a Harmony Week event in your community. Find out what events are on near you.

Read these inspirational stories about how others have celebrated Harmony Week.

For more ideas visit the Harmony Week website.

¹ McDowall, J.J. (2018). Out-of-Home Care in Australia: Children and Young People’s Views After 5 Years of National Standards Report, CREATE Foundation