Harmony Day: ‘Everyone Belongs’
MERCY LIGHT: CONNECTING
Did you know that we have students from more than 60 different nationalities?
St Aloysius College is a culturally diverse community that embraces people from many backgrounds, and every year during Harmony Week, which is celebrated around Australia between March 20 to March 26, we proudly celebrate the vibrance this brings to our school.
On Harmony Day, Tuesday March 21, students received an orange Harmony Day ribbon to pin to their school uniforms as they entered the school grounds, and at lunch, they had the chance to experience cultural practices from around the world, without having to even leave the Redden Undercroft!
A number of students with cultural roots in Pakistan, India, Burundi, Burma and South Africa set up interactive activities at different tables, with the aim to educate and entertain their peers.
Year 10 student, Retha, taught students how to practice Mehndi – also known as Henna – designs on paper hands.
“This country here, we are Pakistan,” Retha told a number of enthusiastic younger students as they drew their Mehndi designs.
“Henna actually comes from Egypt, but it was adopted by other countries. Mehndi is the name of the body art and Henna is the name of the plant that it is made out of.”
Further along the ‘around the world’ trail, Hanaz, Year 10, was dressed in an Indian sari and taught students about the art form of Rangoli, which is created on special occasions, such as Diwali, the Indian festival of lights. Colourful designs are made on surfaces such as tables, or on the floor at the entrances at buildings, using powder, rocks and flowers.
Hanaz said, “Rangoli represents the happiness, positivity and liveliness of a household. My family is from India, and if there is one thing I want to teach people about India, it would be the vibrant, gorgeous culture.”
Clodeta and Kim, also in Year 10, wore a purple and gold fabric from Burundi, a small country in central-East Africa. Clodeta and Kim’s activity was challenging: students were invited to practice walking approximately five metres, following a taped line on the ground, while balancing a basket on their head.
Clodeta, whose family comes from Burundi, said, “the cultural significance of this activity is to show others how women in Burundi get around doing daily tasks. Often, they have to travel quite a long distance with the basket on their heads. The cloth I am wearing is traditional wear, so wrapping the cloth around you while walking is to show how the women are able to do other things while still being able to carry baskets on their heads.”
Year 1 students, Veronika and Abbie, especially enjoyed this challenge. “We are really good at balancing!” When asked how they’d think they’d go if they had to balance the basket for a longer walk, their eyes grew wide.
“Oh, wow!” Veronika said.
Students also had the chance to turn their hand to making bracelets, inspired by South African beading, and to see traditional Burmese skin cream.
Staff from the English as an Additional Language department printed out the word ‘WELCOME’ in each of the languages spoken by our students. After completing their trip ‘around the world’ many students enjoyed colouring in the words, which were displayed by students at lunch time on Friday in the Dunlevie Courtyard, marking the end of Harmony Week for 2023.
Activities such as these provide students with an insight into the various cultural influences on their schoolmates and our whole school community to say, “welcome – everyone belongs.”
Ms Maddie Kelly