||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (April 2012)|
Harmony Day is observed on 21 March in Australia. Harmony Day is intended to show cohesion and inclusion in Australia and promote a tolerant and culturally diverse society.
Harmony Day began in 1999, coinciding with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and each year, it is marked by people coming together and participating in local activities. The continuing message of Harmony Day is 'Everyone Belongs'. It is about community participation, inclusiveness, celebrating diversity, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.
Communities themselves decide how they would like to come together to mark the occasion – some have morning teas, others organise a fair and some celebrate by dressing in national costumes. Since 1999, a wide variety of groups including sports organisations, community groups, local government, churches, schools and businesses have staged more than 55 000 Harmony Day events, with nearly 6,500 events registered in 2011. In 2012, the theme for Harmony Day was 'Sport: Play, Engage, Inspire', recognising the important role and positive influence that sport has in Australia.
Orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Day. Australians are encouraged to wear orange clothing and/or the distinctive orange ribbon to show their support for cultural diversity and an inclusive Australia.
Diversity and Social Cohesion Program]. The Dive Cohesion Program provides funding, education and information to help organisations create a spirit of inclusiveness and helps ensure all Australians are treated fairly regardless of their cultural background or circumstance.
Diversity and Social Cohesion Program
The Diversity and Social Cohesion Program has two key elements: Community Grants and Harmony Day.
- Community Grants are designed to fund local projects that address cultural, racial and religious intolerance at a community level. Grants are available to incorporated, non-profit organisations.
- Harmony Day celebrations began in 1999 and originally involved mainly primary school groups, and has since been expanded to involve the wider community.