In celebration of Harmony Day’s 20th Anniversary this year, the day was renamed “Harmony Week” and celebrations took place over the entire week including 21st March which is the United Nations Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Harmony week is about inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for everyone.
Last year NCNS had its first Harmony Day event which was such a success that our community indicated that they would love to celebrate together every year. This year we celebrated Harmony Day with a Multicultural feast at our Cranebrook Neighbourhood Centre.
The aim was to bring the community together through food, cultural activities, music and performances. We asked the community to bring along a dish that represented their culture so that everyone could get a taste of food from the many different cultures in our local community.
The table was packed with food from all over the world and the smell of each delicious dish filled the space leaving the community eager to begin the feast. The crowd was full of life, laughter and friendship.
Aunty Carol opened the event with a Welcome to Country. The moment she began to speak the energy lifted as her words echoed themes of love, acceptance, unity and welcoming difference into our lives.
The day saw a variety of cultural performances starting with Bollywood Community dancers who enthused the crowd with their vibrant colours, music and movement while making it look effortless. It was a wonderful insight into Indian culture. We had Maltese Line dancers who were fun, upbeat and full of life. Pilipino Kayumanggi Dancers entertained the crowd with a Subli Dance, a cultural and ceremonial folk dance that is usually performed during times of worship.
As well as enjoying the cultural performances, the community also had the opportunity to experience different cultural activities. Henna Tattooing was a massive hit, with many community members thrilled with the beautiful henna designs they had painted onto their hands.
NCNS Worker, Morissa Hita ran a Poi stall where community had the opportunity to make their own Poi, a traditional New Zealand dancing instrument. As people made their own Poi, they found out how it was used and the meaning behind it. As well as Morissa, this stall was run by a member of our local community who was open in sharing the history or her people and her culture.
NCNS Youth Worker, Joe Benchoam ran a drum beats workshop, where participants had a go at beating on tall drums using their hands.
The day was a beautiful display of multiculturalism and a real celebration of our communities’ diversity. NCNS Community Development Worker, Nada Mohammed commented that “This event was an absolute success because of our community’s participation. We would like to thank everyone who came down to support this event, all of those who provided food, performances or activities and were proud to share their culture.”
Once again, this year we were overwhelmed by the way our community united and by their willingness to learn about cultures different to their own. We would like to encourage our community to continue to be open to learning and understanding the many cultures that make up our community so that everyone can feel included, respected and that they belong, so that we can live together harmony!