Harmony Week Celebrations March 2018
In 2003 Western Australia became the first state in our nation to celebrate Harmony Week. The week long program of events is held each year to recognise our state’s rich cultural diversity and evolved from the United Nation’s Harmony Day or anti racial discrimination Day. The event came about to both acknowledge our rich cultural heritage and to recognise the good things that diversity and racial harmony can bring to WA.
In 2018 one-third (32.2 per cent) of all of living in WA were born not here but overseas— that’s the highest percentage of the population for any Australian State or Territory. 240 languages are spoken in Western Australian homes with the top five languages spoken (other than English) being Mandarin, Italian, Vietnamese,Cantonese and Tagalog and we follow more than 100 religious faiths.
At Meerilinga we celebrate Harmony Week each year and all of our centres are inclusive and welcoming of all Western Australians We teach our children traditional Noongar welcomes and encourage all our families and community members to share their cultural heritage.
At our Cockburn centre today Pat Hope – our 70 year old human dynamo and senior co-ordinator for seemingly everything at Meerilinga – was happy to learn a new skill as part of Harmony Week festivities. Sarjeet is a dad, he’s an engineer and he’s part of our Meerilinga family. Today he was teaching us about Sikh Turbans, showing us everything from the materials they are made from and what the various colours represent, to how to put one on your head. It was complicated and it was fun and one of the biggest take home’s from our conversation with Sari is that allowing someone to put a turban on for you is an act of trust.
If you have children at school today its quite possible they went to class wearing something orange for harmony Week and orange is quite literally the colour of harmony. Suri told us for Sikhs orange turbans mean wisdom. It is the colour of deep joy and bliss. It absorbs shocks, nasty experiences and trauma. It’s about letting go of what holds us back or what is not helpful. Orange is the colour of connection, a sense of community, belonging and social aspects of being. In essence it reflects the meaning of Harmony Week and it made us reflect on the choice of orange in our logo at Meerilinga.
We would love to hear your stories about inclusion on our Facebook page and see some pictures from your homes. The more we know about one another the less afraid we are, and fear is one of the catalysts for discrimination. When we can identify with those around us and understand more about one another we let go of fear its a good lesson to share with the next generation.
Meerilinga runs Early Learning Programs at 6 suburban Children and Family centres around Perth. If you are looking for an affordable alternative to childcare, which will enable your child to have fun and learn give us a call here.