Harmony Day: Sharing and respecting cultural diversity

People of all walks of life and backgrounds joined together across the country for Harmony Day on Tuesday.

Bega High School students celebrated with cross-cultural activities, and Bega Valley Shire Council held a multicultural lunch at Bega’s Country Women’s Association hall.

“It’s very good to talk with people and share their culture,” Kalaru’s Fah Phoosang said.

Originally from North Eastern Thailand, Ms Phoosang brought along fabrics and musical instruments to share in the cross-cultural experience, while others brought a traditional plate of food.

Harmony Day is a celebration of Australia’s cultural diversity, and since 1999 has been a national day of cultural respect.

“It’s nice to meet people from other places,” Julie Breznikar said.

“The more you know the better it is.”

For Filipino tourist Cristy Bodena, the day was part of a three week Australian holiday.

“My favourite place so far has been Wolumla, living on a farm and going fishing,” she said with a smile.

Maricris Alcantara has lived in Australia for four years, and is currently studying English as a second language in Bega.

“I enjoy meeting different people, talking more and learning my English,” she said.

March 21 coincides with a significant day on the global calendar.

The day is also United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Council’s migrant multicultural event manager and place based officer Emma Stewart, said the lunch would be the start of many more to come in future years.

“None of this would happen without having positive and strong partnerships with other organisations,” she said.

Bega will see more Harmony Day events on Friday with dance workshops and demonstrations in Littleton Gardens.

From 10am until 12.30pm there will be aikido, Zumba, flamenco, yoga, Bollywood, and hip hop demonstrations, as well as play activities for children.

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