by Luz Besanes Press
Luz B. Press with ‘Tinikling’ Dancers Yvette Mazzer
and Gary Paul Mazzer during Harmony Day celebration.
Organisers of Harmony Day celebration in Lismore: (l-r) Luz B. Press. Julie Massey and Leandro Mendes.
Australia as a multicultural society is famous for its hospitality that helps people draw closer to each other - the spirit of friendship that is.
Harmony Day Celebration every 21 March each year is a big event celebrated around the country. It is managed by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship which also coincides with the United Nations International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It is the time to rejoice that whoever we are, regardless of our background, religion, colour or race, we have respect towards each other for who we are. Its message is always “Everyone Belongs”. We celebrate the cohesiveness and inclusiveness and promote a tolerant and culturally diverse society. As we celebrate this special occasion, we pay respect to all the inhabitants/citizens of this country who call Australia “Home” from the traditional owners of this land and to those who migrated from other parts of the globe.
This wonderful event had started in 1999 and is still on going. The many ways to celebrate “Harmony Day” is through sport, dance, art, film, story telling, cooking and sharing cultural meals. We learn to understand the people around us that we equally belong to this wonderful nation and make the best we could to make this place a better place to live. Different schools, childcare centres, community groups, churches, businesses, federal, state and local government agencies are participating and be a part of this special event.
Free “Harmony Day” material is available to those who register the events on the website such as orange ribbons and balloons. Orange is the colour for “Harmony Day” which shows the support for cultural diversity and an inclusive Australia. We are all part of one people, one nation, one goal.
The Lismore City “Harmony Day” Celebration went well. The community of Lismore and surrounds always show their support in this nationwide event. It was a day full of fun. Speeches from our government officials - Our very own Mayor Jenny Dowell, Peter Weekes, representative from MP Kevin Hogan’s office, Ellie Gava from the Italian community, May King from the Aboriginal Community, Julie Massey from the Northern Rivers Community Gateway and performances from different groups - The Winsome Gospel Choir, Brazilian instrument, The Realising Every Dream Incorporated Signing Choir (which became the icing of the cake - group of young people with disability), “Tinikling” the National Dance of the Philippines performed by Gary Paul and Yvette Mazzer - Finette Tyson and myself olding the bamboos while the two children are dancing, a game by Leandro Mendes who was also the MC for the day. And of course foods, foods and more foods. There were different kinds of cakes representing the different people in our community. Who else would not enjoy? Everything was free - from entertainments to foods and friendships. Everyone did enjoy of course.
May we all continue working together to achieve harmony and unity in our society.
Thank you everyone. Your participation counts a lot. Happy “Harmony Day”, beautiful people of Australia.
The event was sponsored by The Lismore City Council, The Northern Rivers Community Gateway, The North Coast Settlement Services and The Lismore City Library.
Organisers: Leandro Mendes, Julie Massey and Luz Besanes Press