AboutWhat is Harmony Week?

20 year anniversary of Harmony celebrations

In 2019, the Department will lead national celebrations for the 20th anniversary of Harmony Day. This year the event will be renamed Harmony Week to recognise diversity and inclusion activities that take place during the entire week. Harmony Week will include 21 March, which is the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Since 1999, more than 77,000 Harmony Week events have been held in childcare centres, schools, community groups, churches, businesses and federal, state and local government agencies across Australia.

What is Harmony Week?

It is a time to celebrate Australian multiculturalism, and the successful integration of migrants into our community.

Australia is one of the most successful multicultural countries in the world and we should celebrate this and work to maintain it.

Harmony Week is about inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians, regardless of cultural or linguistic background, united by a set of core Australian values.

How to celebrate?

Let’s come together with friends and family and through schools, workplaces and our wider communities to celebrate our diversity.

Getting involved can be as simple as hosting an event or attending a local celebration. Visit out ‘Get involved ’ page for more information.

You can connect with us on Facebook for more information including simple ways to celebrate our diversity every day.

Why orange?

Orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Week. 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 during 17-23 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.

An integrated 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:

  • nearly half (49 per cent) of Australians were born overseas or have at least one parent who was
  • we identify with over 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, Arabic, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Italian, Greek, Tagalog/Filipino, Hindi, Spanish and Punjabi
  • more than 70 Indigenous languages are spoken in Australia.

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