Celebrating our increasingly multicultural regions this Harmony Week
“Community of any kind is important in all regions, but if we are lucky to exist in a multicultural community, we have the opportunity to embrace other cultures and learn from them.”
Harmony Week is here and across our footprint we will be celebrating diversity and inclusion alongside the growing multiculturalism in the regions. This week gives us the space to celebrate that no matter where you’re from, we’re unified by the Australian values of freedom, respect, fairness, democracy and equal opportunity.
Australia is a vibrant and multicultural country – from the oldest continuous culture of our first nations peoples to the cultures of some of our newest arrivals, our cultural diversity is what makes Australia a great place to live. Since 1945, more than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia. The number of people who use a language other than English at home has increased to more than 5.5 million people – that’s an increase of nearly 800,000 since 2016!
In fact, New South Wales is one of the most culturally diverse states in Australia. More than 2 million NSW citizens were born overseas and is made up by more than 300 cultures, speaking more than 215 languages and practicing 148 religions. Further north, more than one in five Queenslanders were born overseas.
Regional Australia is increasing becoming more multicultural, with many people from different cultures and backgrounds opting to call the regions their home.
In Wagga Wagga, 30% of residents speak a language other than English at home. Dubbo’s multiculturalism is growing 19% faster than other regional areas in NSW. People from more than 86 countries became Australian citizens at Mackay Regional Council Citizenship Ceremonies since 2013.
So to mark this important week, we have compiled a list of ways you can celebrate Harmony Week and learn more about different cultures and traditions:
Get your mates together and host a Harmony Week dinner party
As the old saying goes, the best way to someone’s heart is through the stomach! Ask everybody to bring a dish that means something to them, such as an old family recipe, and get your friends to talk about why their dish is significant to them. It’s a great way to learn about other people’s cultures and maybe try a delicacy you have never had before!
Watch, read, listen
Why not try watching a foreign film, stick a podcast from another country in your headphones or check out the foreign language section of your local library or bookshop. You never know, you might discover a love for foreign films or your new favourite podcast!
Hearing about other people’s culture is super interesting and a wonderful way to expand our knowledge of different backgrounds, religions and traditions. So why not ask a friend or family about their culture or religion? We can guarantee you will learn something new!
Get the kids involved
Explain to your little ones what Harmony Week is to build curiosity and encourage respect and inclusiveness about other cultures. There are plenty of stories, games, music and craft activities you can do to teach them about other people’s cultures and being respectful of other cultures’ traditions.
Orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Week. Why orange, you might ask? Traditionally, it signifies social communication and meaningful conversations and relates to the encouragement of mutual respect. So why not throw on something orange during the week to show your support?
Get involved in local events
Most towns or cities host Harmony Week events, like markets, food stalls, and community days. Check out your local council website or Facebook page to see what events are taking place and get amongst it!
From finding something new about a friend’s culture or traditions, to your new favourite dish, you never know what you might learn this Harmony Week!