Today, at my home in Australia and away from my home Azerbaijan, I celebrate two important dates - Harmony Day and the beginning of Spring, Novruz Festival.
Harmony Day is an important day because it gives us, Australians, an opportunity to celebrate our successes as a culturally diverse society. Let’s celebrate the diversity not just on 21 March, but all year along.
It is also an International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination today. For me, Azerbaijani Australian, who is proud to call both countries home, it’s not just a holiday to mark the vernal equinox, it a holiday of the equality of the people. Cultural diversity and tolerance represent the most important factors of my culture.
During Novruz we have an unwritten rule in Azerbaijan that people who have fallen out with one another should be reconciled without mediation. It is considered a sin not to forgive those who admit their guilt.
The moment the new day arrives, you should go out of the house or stand at an open window and make a wish. Today I have a wish. To build more cultural diversity, inclusion, compassion and love whenever we live. No need to wait for someone. Start with yourself. Let’s give value to every human being, no matter our differences.
“It is not our differences that divide us. It’s our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences”.