AboutWhat is Harmony Day?
21 March is Harmony Day
Our diversity makes Australia a great place to live. Harmony Day is a celebration of our cultural diversity – a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia home.
Held every year on 21 March. The Day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
The message of Harmony Day is ‘everyone belongs’, the Day aims to engage people to participate in their community, respect cultural and religious diversity and foster sense of belonging for everyone.
Since 1999, more than 70,000 Harmony Day events have been held in childcare centres, schools, community groups, churches, businesses and federal, state and local government agencies across Australia.
How to celebrate?
Let’s come together with friends and family and through schools, workplaces and our wider communities to celebrate our diversity on and beyond 21 March.
Getting involved can be as simple as hosting an event or attending a local celebration. Visit out ‘Get involved ’ page for more information.
Orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Day. Traditionally, orange signifies social communication and meaningful conversations. It also relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect. Australians can choose to wear something orange on 21 March to show their support for cultural diversity and an inclusive Australia.
Our cultural diversity
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.
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.
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.
Facts and figures
There are some fascinating statistics about Australia’s diversity that can be good conversation-starters:
- around 45 per cent of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was
- we identify with about 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, Italian, Arabic, Cantonese, Greek, Vietnamese, Tagalog/Filipino, Spanish and Hindi
- more than 60 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia.
These facts are taken from ABS 2011 Census Data. Check out the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.
Recent research into social cohesion issues across the Australian population, conducted by the Scanlon Foundation and Monash University, found that 86 per cent of the Australian public continues to support multiculturalism, believing that ‘multiculturalism has been good for Australia’. Read the Scanlon Foundation’s national social cohesion research.
Browse Settlement and Multicultural Affairs publications on the Department of Social Services’ website.