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Hello Harmony Day, 2024!

Harmony blog header

14 ways to celebrate our cultural diversity in an inspiring way… 

Harmony Day (Thursday 21 March 2024) is part of Harmony Week that celebrates Australia’s amazing cultural diversity. During this week, schools celebrate inclusiveness, respect and a sense of belonging for all Australians, from the traditional custodians of the land to those who have come from many countries around the world. 

This week of inclusiveness is celebrated from Monday 18th March 2024 to Sunday 24th March 2024 so there are plenty of opportunities to create and participate in activities all week long. 

With its motto ‘Everyone belongs’, Harmony Day is a day we appreciate our differences and similarities, promote inclusiveness and show mutual respect for everyone, regardless of race, colour, religion, or background. 


Why we love Harmony Day 

  • It celebrates diversity 
  • You can celebrate your own way 
  • It unites cultures 

Statistics show that diverse communities, companies and civilisations are happier, healthier and more prosperous. So, including everyone really does make the world a better place! 


The history of Harmony Day 

Harmony Day was first celebrated in Australia in 1999. People celebrate it by reflecting on the ways they can live in harmony with their neighbours. In 1998, the government commissioned a study into the nature of racism that highlighted a greater need for people to ‘live in harmony’. As a result, Harmony Day was created to encourage everyone to respect each other and appreciate the country’s vibrant multicultural background. 


Fascinating facts 

Some interesting statistics about Australia’s diversity today from ABS 2021 Census Data: 

  • 29.1% of Australia’s population were born overseas.  
  • 51.5 % of Australian residents were born overseas (first generation) or have a parent born overseas (second generation)    
  • We identify with over 300 ancestries in Australia 
  • 812,728 people identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. This is an increase of 25.2% since 2016, representing 3.2% of the population. 
  • 167 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were used at home by 76,978 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The most widely reported language groups used were Arnhem Land and Daly River Region Languages (14.5%) and Torres Strait Island Languages (12.0%). 
  • Since 1945, more than 7.5 million people have migrated to Australia 
  • The top five most reported ancestries included English 33.0%, Australian 29.9%, Irish 9.5%, Scottish 8.6% and Chinese 5.5%. 
  • Mandarin is the most common language other than English spoken in Australia with 685,274 people using Mandarin at home. 
  • This is followed by Arabic (367,159 people), Vietnamese (320,758 people), and Cantonese (295,281 people). 
  • Punjabi had the largest increase, showing 239,033 people using Punjabi at home. 
  • Nepali featured in the top five languages used at home in both ACT (1.3%) and Tasmania (1.3%). 
  • 85% of Australians agree multiculturalism has been good for Australia 


How to celebrate Harmony Day 

As an educator, you can use this day (or week) to help students understand the importance of celebrating diversity, inclusion, respect, empathy and community. Harmony Day activities help us understand how all Australians equally belong to this nation and enrich it. We’ve put our thinking caps on and curated some ideas that schools can use to celebrate Harmony Day 2024 in a respectful and engaging way. 

  • Wear orange 

On the official Harmony Week website, it tells us that ‘orange is the colour chosen to represent Harmony Week’ as it ‘signifies social communication and meaningful conversations. It also relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect.’ So, ask your class or school to wear something orange on Harmony Day to show their support for cultural diversity and an inclusive Australia. 

  •  Share stories 

What better way to promote diversity than by exploring different cultures and customs from your peers? Encourage students to share stories about their backgrounds with their classmates. Storytelling is such a personal way to learn about different traditions and a way to promote cross-cultural understanding. This beautiful Fair Trade Aboriginal Symbol Kit would make a great year-round addition to any classroom. 

  •  Eat the world’s yummiest food 

Food is a universal language that brings people together. Encourage students to bring in a traditional dish from their culture or organise a multicultural food festival. This is a fun (and yummy) way for children to learn about different cultures and celebrate our culinary similarities and differences. Perhaps your class can bake a Harmony Cake, mixing different ingredients to produce a delicious and harmonious result.  

  •  Get arty & crafty 

Arts and crafts are a fantastic way to explore diversity and for students to display their heritage. Why not organise a poster or art competition around the theme of Harmony Day? For art and craft projects that showcase different cultures, inspire your class to create a traditional item (think Chinese paper lantern, mask, origami or Indigenous basket) or create a symbolic diversity tree of hands or paper chain of people from around the world. This is a great all year round Multicultural Craft Kit. 

  •  Role play with multicultural families 

Consider role play or putting on a show with a set of stylised multicultural dolls or characters or even finger puppets. We love our beautiful Fair Trade Multicultural Families handmade in India under Fair Trade conditions, especially for younger age groups. 

  •  Make music! 

Encourage students to bring in music from their culture and play during class. We love this allrounder Cultural Music Set. Alternatively, look at celebrating Harmony Day with a class choir. Choose a unifying song to bring their voices together. Invite students to perform their song in a cultural performance for the school at assembly. Music is a fabulous way to celebrate cultural diversity. 

  •  Multicultural dance party 

Students can learn traditional dances from different cultures. Or enjoy a multicultural dance party with the traditional music the students share. What a great way to appreciate the beauty of cultural expression. Alternatively, organise a Cultural Dance Workshop. Invite a dance instructor or member of the community to teach traditional dances from different cultures. 

  •  Traditional costumes  

Dress-up Day in traditional cultural costumes is a fun and interactive way for students to showcase their unique heritage and celebrate the diversity of their peers. There are so many intricate and beautiful traditional costumes to see and celebrate. 

  •  Inclusive classroom activities 

Harmony Week classroom activities are a simple way to promote diversity. You could encourage students to teach each other phrases or words in different languages, starting with ‘hello’. Or think interactive, and use videos as stimulus, or take the class on a 360-degree virtual tour of another country using your interactive panel.  

Some other classroom starters here: 

  •  Cultural display

Set up a cultural display in your classroom, featuring artifacts, pictures and other items from different cultures around the world. Encourage students to contribute to the display by bringing in items from their culture or a culture they’re interested in. This is a great way to spark conversations about different traditions. 

  •  Invite guests to chat!

Help students gain a better appreciation of different cultures firsthand by inviting a guest speaker or local community member to engage in some personal cultural storytelling. Real, lived experiences make for a more authentic way to bring a different cultural perspective to life. 

  •  Explore your diverse community 

Give students a deeper understanding of the cultural diversity of their community by going on a community walk. Point out cultural landmarks, such as religious buildings or monuments and discuss the significance of these landmarks to the community.  

  •  Involve students in community outreach programs

Organise community outreach programs for older students to participate in. Visit cultural centres, attend festivals or volunteer with community organisations. This provides an opportunity for students to connect with people from different cultures, gain a deeper understanding of these communities, and make a difference in the world. 

  •  Harmony Day pledge

Ask students to take a pledge to promote harmony, respect and inclusion in their school and community. They could write and decorate their own pledge with their own heartfelt message, then place their pledge on the classroom walls. 


Celebrating Harmony Day in the classroom is an excellent opportunity for you to engage students in meaningful conversations and activities that promote understanding, empathy and a sense of community. By promoting cultural diversity and inclusiveness, teachers can create a learning environment that celebrates the unique differences and similarities of all cultures. Let’s come together, celebrate our diversity, and make Harmony Day a day to remember! 



Shop multicultural resources 

At MTA, we have some amazing pedagogically sound resources that embrace diversity, inclusiveness and multicultural celebrations all year long… 


Other links to inspire: 

Visit the Australian Government Harmony Week for schools website for a collection of lesson ideas organised by level of schooling and subject area and aligned to the Australian Curriculum and resources for Harmony Week including templates for posters, invitations and certificates as well as frames, filters, graphics and banners for websites and social media. Learn more about understanding diversity and culture at the Multicultural Education webpages. Find out more about Planning Harmony Week here. 


Download our free Harmony Day Art & Craft  activities here.


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Everyone Belongs: Celebrating Harmony Day In The Classroom

Everyone Belongs

Australia is an incredibly diverse country that people from many different backgrounds call home. Considering that nearly half of Australians are either born overseas, or have one or more parents that have been born overseas (Australian Bureau of Statistics), it is no wonder that Australia is considered one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world.

I consider myself extremely lucky to teach in such a vibrant, multicultural country and acknowledge the responsibility of celebrating this diversity in my classroom. Celebrating the rich diversity of all students is something that should be embedded into classroom practices each and every day. While fostering a sense of belonging in the classroom happens on a daily basis, there are some special dates throughout the school calendar, such as Harmony Day, that provide a further opportunity for us to celebrate the rich diversity of our amazing country.

What is Harmony Day?

Harmony Day, which is held on the 21st of March every year, is widely celebrated in the community and at schools around the country. This significant day coincides with the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. It is a time to celebrate Australia’s cultural diversity and promote inclusiveness, with its key message being ‘Everyone Belongs’.

On Harmony Day, many schools engage their community in a variety of activities. These activities aim to teach understanding of how all Australians equally belong to this country and enrich it, as well as promote cultural respect for all. There are various ways to celebrate this special day in the classroom, read on to find many ideas and activities to implement at your school. *

Ways to celebrate Harmony Day in the Classroom

Wear Orange

Invite students and staff to wear orange on March 21st to celebrate Harmony Day. This might sound simple, but did you know that orange is the chosen colour to represent Harmony Day and it signifies social communication and meaningful conversations? The Australian Government, Department of Home Affairs (2019) explains that this chosen colour relates to the freedom of ideas and encouragement of mutual respect. In the past, I have used this tradition as an opportunity to talk to my students about what this colour means, which has sparked many rich conversations.


Promote Diversity Through Books

Celebrations of the world book with wooden figures on grass background

One of the best ways to build children’s understandings of different topics is through books. Two of my favourite books to read with my students on Harmony Day are ‘Celebrations Around The World’ by Mike Ingram and ‘Whoever You Are’ by Mem Fox. Both of these books celebrate diversity, invite students to think deeply and can be used as a platform to provoke rich, meaningful conversations.

Celebrations Around The World’ is a big book that explores the diversity of our local communities, our nation and our world. This book looks at celebrations from around the world and is key for developing children’s understanding of other cultures and the world around them. I have also used this book to celebrate some of these culturally significant days in my classroom, such as Chinese New Year and Saint Patrick’s Day.

Celebrations of the world inside spread on grass background

‘Whoever You are’ is beautifully written and celebrates children’s uniqueness, while pointing out that common humanity unites everyone. “Their lives may be different from yours, and their words may be different from yours. But inside, their hearts are just like yours”. This thought-provoking quotation from the text invites students to explore the notion of diversity and inclusion further through discussion.

Featured Products:

Celebrations of the World Big Book
Whoever You Are Book


Multicultural Paper Chain Dolls

Paper chain dolls on classroom desk

This next Harmony Day activity was inspired by the aforementioned text ‘Whoever You Are’. We read this book before making these multicultural paper chain dolls. We had a fantastic discussion about how we may be different in ways, which is what makes us special, and how we are all similar, before commencing this activity.

Paperchain dolls whoever you are book with coloured pens on grass background

When making their paper chain dolls, students were encouraged to represent a wide variety of cultures through highlighting their appearance like skin colour, special clothing and interests etc. I love how these paper chain dolls look like they are holding hands, representing that it is important to live in peace with one another, regardless of how we may live our lives.

Featured Product:
Whoever You Are Book


Invite Families To Share Their Culture

Inviting families into the classroom is often encouraged in order to bridge connections between home and school. To foster this partnership further, invite families to come and share something about their cultural background with the class on Harmony Day. I have implemented this special ‘show and tell’ in my classroom before, where families shared different aspects of their lives with the class. One of the mothers of my students came from India and was kind enough to give Henna tattoos to all of the children. Another parent was born in China and taught us how to make Chinese dumplings to celebrate Chinese New Year. I have also had parents share their special outfits, pictures, dance, music and food. What better way to develop an understanding of different cultures, as well as gain a better understanding of students and their families?


Embed Multicultural Resources Into Classroom Learning Spaces

Embedding multicultural resources into classroom learning spaces is something I do all year round, as I’m sure many other educators do as well. Using and highlighting multicultural resources is another idea of how to celebrate diversity in the classroom during Harmony Day. I love using multicultural resources in my early years classroom as it fosters the concept of ‘Everyone Belongs’ and means that everybody feels represented. By naturally incorporating multicultural resources into play, children are able to develop their understanding and acceptance of different cultures in a natural and authentic way.

Home corner play space featuring kitchen and dining table

In home corner, my students enjoy engaging with our multicultural play food, which exposes them to food from all around the world. Food is such a big part of culture and I’ve heard many students talking about how they have eaten this or that at home, as well as ask others what particular items are, thus learning about unfamiliar foods.

Multicultural play food on table

My students also love playing with our multicultural dolls in the home corner, all of which have different physical appearances. Representing many cultures through classroom resources encourages children to understand the rich diversity of our population.

Multicultural wooden dolls on grass background

Another resource that I use in my classroom to represent cultures is multicultural wooden dolls. These are some of our most loved play resources and they represent a wide range of cultures and showcase the rich diversity of people within our community.

Wooden town and dolls on grass background

My students love using these dolls with our wooden blocks, as well as with our town set, which is fantastic as it builds children’s understanding of our society being incredibly diverse with many people who have varying beliefs, cultures, interests and appearances.

Featured Products:

Multicultural Play Food Assortment – 100 pieces

The Happy Architect Town Set
Wooden Multicultural People – Set of 42


Hello! Konnichiwa! Ciao!

How many different ways can you say hello? I asked my students this last year and was impressed by how many ways they knew how to say hello in different languages. We also referred to a video on YouTube to learn some new greetings we weren’t familiar with already. We made a poster of the many different greetings and proudly hung it on our door to greet any visitors to the classroom.


Everybody Belongings Puzzle Artwork

What better way to show that ‘Everyone Belongs’ than with this puzzle piece artwork? This is a great collaborative artwork to complete with students for Harmony Day and is very effective when all of the pieces have been put together. Each student can complete a drawing of themselves and then cut out their puzzle piece. Once all joined together, this artwork clearly shows that even though we are all unique in our own ways, we can still join together and that everybody belongs.

Puzzle artwork with coloured pens on grass


Explore Homes Around The World

Homes around the world on grass featuring globe

Celebrating Harmony Day is an opportunity to learn about how cultures around the world live and many children find it fascinating to learn about this. My students enjoyed learning about the different types of homes people live in around the world and matching these to countries on the globe.

Chinese wooden play home on grass

As children engaged in this imaginative play, they were developing their understanding and acceptance of many cultures through an age appropriate and authentic activity.

Featured Product:
Multicultural Block Play Set – 33 pieces

Jigdraws- Pack of 20


What are your favourite ways to celebrate Harmony Day in the classroom? We would love to hear from you!



Australian Bureau of Statistics, Cultural Diversity in Australia

Australian Government, Department of Home Affairs , Harmony Week.


Heidi Overbye from Learning Through Play is a Brisbane based, Early Years Teacher who currently teaches Prep, the first year of formal schooling in Queensland. Heidi is an advocate for play-based, hands-on learning experiences and creating stimulating and creative learning spaces. Heidi shares what happens in her classroom daily on her Instagram page, Learning Through Play. See for a huge range of activities, play spaces and lesson ideas.


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