Represented by the colour orange, it signifies a unified stand for cultural diversity and inclusion and promotes the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect.
Held on March 21 each year, the day coincides with the United Nations International Day for the elimination of Racial Discrimination. This year’s theme is ‘Everyone Belongs’.
To celebrate Harmony Day, schools in the Maitland-Newcastle Diocese held a range of events and activities last week.
Holy Cross Primary School, Glendale, began its Harmony Day celebrations with a visit from local Awabakal tribe elders, who spoke to the students about their culture, welcomed them to country and sang the national anthem in Awabakal.
This was followed by a liturgy prepared by Year 4 students attended by parents, grandparents and friends. Sister Lucie and Sister Mary from the Sugarloaf Parish performed a traditional Vietnamese dance during the service.
Students then took part in a range of craft activities representing a range of different cultures and nationalities including China, India, Indigenous Australia and New Zealand.
For lunch, students were treated to a variety of cultural meals including Indian chicken pastries made by Mother Mrs Sabikah Rizvi and traditional Welsh cakes prepared by a student’s great grandmother.
Students also got to spend the day out of uniform and were encouraged to wear something orange in celebration of the annual event.
With plenty going on in the month of March, St Benedict’s Primary School, Edgeworth, put on a day of combined celebrations for Harmony Day, St Patrick’s Day and Getting Along Green Day.
As a part of the school’s Getting Along Green Day, and in connection with this year’s theme of ‘Everyone Belongs’, the school focused on raising money for Project Compassion and celebrating cultural diversity.
Students spent the day out of uniform in the wearing green instead of the usual orange - this to incorporate St Patrick’s Day celebrations. Each student brought a gold coin donation for their mufti to help raise money for the Caritas Project.
Project Compassion fund-raising, supported by the school’s Mini Vinnies group, runs throughout the year with various events, activities and the implementation of Project Compassion boxes in each classroom. Every $15 raised assists in sending a child in the Philippines to high school so this year the school is aiming to raise enough money to give 30 children an education.
Students enjoyed a wide range of activities throughout the day including being able to get themselves an Irish tattoo from one of the numerous temporary tattoo stands lining the school hall, make pancakes and view a display of books and artefacts representing Aboriginal, Asian and European cultures.
Students’ creative juices flowed thanks to a variety of craft activities, including colouring flags to represent their own cultural heritage, before they were treated to a morning tea of pikelets.
“We had a wonderful day and the children were so excited to be part of it,” said Mark Hornby-Howell, Principal of St Benedict’s.
“Through our Project Compassion boxes and money raised from our Getting Along Green/Harmony Day, we have raised a $375 to date. This means we can assist 25 children to assist high school in the Philippines which means we are well on the way to achieving our goal of sending 30,” he added.