March 21 is Harmony Day in Australia. This is a day when everyone has the opportunity to embrace the cultural diversity of our country and celebrate our unique differences.
Now in its 18th year, people will gather at Harmony Day events across the country to enjoy the food, music and company of others from nations all across the world.
Embracing multiculturalism enhances respect and support for cultural, religious and linguistic diversity.
Since 1945 more than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia, and speak a wide range of languages other than English, including Mandarin, Cantonese, Greek, Italian, Arabic, Vietnamese, Spanish and Hindi.
According to the organisers of Harmony Day, our cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths and is at the heart of who we are. Multicultural Australia is an integral part of our nation's history and character.
The United Nations has also proclaimed March 21 as the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
This year the UN are drawing attention to racial profiling and incitement to hatred, including in the context of migration.
"Every person is entitled to human rights without discrimination. The rights to equality and non-discrimination are cornerstones of human rights law. Yet in many parts of the world, discriminatory practices are still widespread, including racial, ethnic, religious and nationality based profiling, and incitement to hatred."
- United Nations
In Australia, days such as Harmony Day aim to engage Australians to celebrate inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.
Where can you celebrate Harmony Day?
There are hundreds of events being held across Australia in celebration of Harmony Day in 2017. Here are a few of the highlights:
March 21, 7.30pm - 10pm, Customs House, Sydney Central Business District.
March 24, 11:30am to 2:00pm, Civic Park, Newcastle.
March 24, 4pm - 8pm Condell Reserve Cnr Condell and Napier Streets, Fitzroy.
March 25, 9am - 3pm, Inala Civic Centre, Kittyhawk Ave, Inala.
March 21, 9am - 1pm, Southport Library, Lawson St, Southport.
March 19 - 24, 8pm - 6am every night, Michael Hebert Bridge, Patawalonga, Glenelg North and Jetty Rd, Glenelg.
April 8, 11am to 4pm, Altone Oval, Beechboro.
March 21, 12.30pm, Elizabeth Mall, Hobart.