We come together to celebrate Harmony Day on 21 March. Created in 1999 to celebrate unity and diversity, Harmony Day was originally an Australian celebration but is now marked worldwide by conscientious citizens. Whether you want to be better friends with your neighbors or stand in the shoes of another, we’ve got some harmonious habits and unifying ideas to make your Harmony Day a picture of peace.
History of Harmony Day
Harmony Day was first celebrated in Australia in 1999, but its roots go back hundreds of years. In 2017, researchers published evidence in the journal “Nature” that the ancestors of Aboriginal Australians landed there from Southeast Asia about 65,000 years ago. No one knows exactly how they got there, and although the distance was shorter than it is today due to large expanses of frozen water, some speculate that they still had to undertake a sea voyage of at least 45 miles, perhaps, according to the Australian Museum, in rafts made of bamboo! These first settlers were the original indigenous Australians and lived in harmony with the land for centuries.
Then, in 1788, the British Empire reached Australia, landing at Botany Bay to establish a penal colony of exiled prisoners. The British used the Australian land to replicate their own Western civilization, a culture that did not work in harmony with that of the indigenous peoples of Australia and resulted in a mass slaughter of the people who had occupied the land for hundreds of years.
As a result, as the nation grew, Australia (like many countries) was a divided society. In the late 20th century, despite the legislation enshrining equal rights for all, many people still suffered from racist attacks. In 1998, after activists condemned the country for persistently turning a blind eye to its racism, the Australian government commissioned a study into the nature of racism over the last decade. The study highlighted a greater need for people to ‘live in harmony’ and, as a result, Harmony Day was created to encourage everyone to respect each other and appreciate the country’s multicultural background.
Whilst Harmony Day is still predominantly an Australian holiday, people celebrate it worldwide by reflecting on the ways they can live in harmony with their neighbors, regardless of their background or circumstances. The communities themselves choose how they wish to celebrate, with over 55,000 Harmony Day events held since the celebration’s birth.
Harmony Day timeline
Indigenous Australians inhabit the continent, having traveled by sea from Southeast Asia.
The first fleet of British ships arrives at Botany Bay to establish a penal colony, the first colony on the Australian mainland.
The Australian government commissions a study into the nature of racism in the last decade, which establishes a greater need for living in harmony.
The first Harmony Day is celebrated in Australia, coinciding with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Harmony Day FAQs
I’m not Australian. Can I still celebrate?
Of course! Harmony Day aims to celebrate everyone, so count yourself in!
Why is diversity important?
Statistics show that diverse communities, companies, and civilizations are happier, healthier, and more prosperous. So including everyone really does make the world a better place.
Which other days are there for celebrating each other?
Global Diversity Awareness Month takes place in October every year, the perfect time to put a special emphasis on celebrating our cultures.
How to Celebrate Harmony Day
Host a coffee morning
Bring your neighbors together over a cup of joe to celebrate each other. You may be from different walks of life, but you all call the same place home.
Bake a harmony cake
When we bake, we mix very different ingredients to produce a delicious and harmonious result: cake! You could even try a recipe from a different culture to let you stand in another’s shoes.
Get a choir together
Celebrate harmony in mind and voice by singing with a choir. Choose some uplifting, unifying songs to bring your voices together.
5 Facts About Australia To Inspire Harmony
It’s the smallest continent
Of the seven continents on Earth, Australia is the smallest, and the second-largest island in the world after Greenland.
It makes millions from coral
Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coral, thanks to its large and beautiful coastline that includes the Great Barrier Reef, the biggest coral reef in the world.
It is home to the didgeridoo
Developed by the Aboriginal peoples of Australia around 1,500 years ago, the wind instrument is now played around the world — it was even used by Kate Bush on her album “The Dreaming.”
It has a famous island mountain
Hundreds of thousands of visitors a year flock to see Uluru (formerly also known as Ayers Rock), an inselberg, or ‘island mountain’, of sacred importance to the Aboriginal people of the area.
The road signs feature kangaroos
Australia is home to about 10% of the world’s plant- and animal varieties, and drivers need to watch out for kangaroos, wombats, dingos, and numerous other animals whilst traveling.
Why We Love Harmony Day
It celebrates diversity
With its motto ‘Everyone belongs’, Harmony day reminds us to appreciate everyone, regardless of their background or circumstances.
You can celebrate your own way
There’s no set way to celebrate Harmony Day, and everyone is encouraged to mark it in the way that makes them happy, from getting together over tea to wearing national attire.
It unites cultures
Harmony Day is all about loving and understanding different cultures and ways of life, and seeing how they can fit together. You may be surprised by what other cultures have to teach you!
Harmony Day dates