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What is Harmony Day?

A group of women in elaborate animal skin costumes ad feathered head dresses stand together.
Dancers from Brisas del Peru, at National Multicultural Festival.

ABC News: Tegan Osborne

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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.

More than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia since 1945.
More than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia since 1945.

Supplied: Harmony Day

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:

Sydney

Multilingual poetry slam

March 21, 7.30pm - 10pm, Customs House, Sydney Central Business District.

Newcastle

Newcastle Harmony Picnic

March 24, 11:30am to 2:00pm, Civic Park, Newcastle.

Melbourne

Community Street Party - Bridge to Harmony

March 24, 4pm - 8pm Condell Reserve Cnr Condell and Napier Streets, Fitzroy.

Brisbane

Harmony Day Festival

March 25, 9am - 3pm, Inala Civic Centre, Kittyhawk Ave, Inala.

Gold Coast

Pop Up Harmony GC

March 21, 9am - 1pm, Southport Library, Lawson St, Southport.

Adelaide

Light Up For Harmony Day

March 19 - 24, 8pm - 6am every night, Michael Hebert Bridge, Patawalonga, Glenelg North and Jetty Rd, Glenelg.

Perth

Altone Comes Alive

April 8, 11am to 4pm, Altone Oval, Beechboro.

Hobart

Welcome For International Migrant and Humanitarian Entrant Students

March 21, 12.30pm, Elizabeth Mall, Hobart.

Almost half of Australians were either born overseas or have a parent who was.
Almost half of Australians were either born overseas or have a parent who was.

Supplied: Harmony Day

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