To celebrate Harmony Week at Ambition & AccountAbility we shared our own cultural stories among the team. We're proud to have a diverse team of people who are willing to share in and acknowledge each other's cultures. Harmony Week is about inclusiveness, respect and belonging for all Australians.
In each of our offices, we held a morning tea where we shared different snacks chosen by our team to reflect their heritage, allowing time for a thoughtful discussion around belonging and our many culturally significant experiences.
A story of Singapore
Serena's story of Singapore
"The King of Sumatra (Indonesia), named Sang Nila Utama, was said to have discovered the island state about 1297 A.D. Enthralled by its white sandy beaches, he decided to stay for a while only to bump into a beastly lion. He considered it as a promising symbol of the nation, thus naming the island city as The City of Lion or Singapura. Sang Nila Utama was also said to have ruled the city-state until his death."
Stories of England
Adam's story of growing up in
"As a little kid growing up in England, my fondest G rated memories were of life in a little English village and everything which came with it. School fetes, sports day, village day, maypole celebrations and birthday parties all seemed to blend into one haze of mild weather and long hot evenings when we could play out until the sun went down.
My friends and I would race around on our BMXs, fish for sticklebacks or play dares around the local streams and ponds, buy penny chews from the local sweet shop, or have ploughman's lunch and a 99 flake at the queen's head with the local Mum's and Dad's. Then we would head off for a game of football with jumpers for goalposts on the village green."
Cat's Story of Jack in the Green
"One of the fondest memories I have of my home town (Hastings, East Sussex, England) is Jack in the Green which is a May Day celebration where the town comes together to celebrate the spirit of summer. The main procession of the Jack (photoed left) takes place on the May Bank Holiday Monday through the streets of Hastings Old Town. The Jack is accompanied by different characters the Bogies, Black Sal, the Fat man with a drum, Mad Jacks Morris, dancers, giants, drummers and various other Morris sides. Everyone is elaborately costumed, adorned in greenery, masks, and in various different stylings. Everyone in town wears something green, members of the parade sometimes dab a green spot on spectators noses. There’s drums, Morris dancing and at the end of the day we burn Jack, a huge green floral mound to release the spirit of summer. The whole town is out, the beer gardens overflow onto the street, and live music fills the air. ...And it never rains, (which is strange for England) but it never rains on jack in the Green."
A Story of India
Khushboo's favourite festivals
"Being culturally from India, I love talking about festivals. I have grown up celebrating more than a dozen of festivals every year. But my favourite is Diwali, Holi and Dussehra (in that particular order haha).
No matter what festival we celebrate, there are some very common practices we follow for each one of them. We wake up quite early in the morning and the ladies of our houses (mainly mums) would clean the house, decorate it, make colourful rangolis (mandalas), then they would themselves get ready, wear traditional clothes and jewellery. Only after we offer the prayer, we are allowed to eat. And on the day of festivals, we would prepare yummy sweets and savouries. After offering the prayers, we’d also visit our neighbours and share those sweets with them. It a gesture that we care for them and hope they be blessed.
Here is what these festival symbolizes.
Holi: Falls in March, is the festival of colours. Holi celebrates the arrival of spring, the end of winter, the blossoming of love, and for many it's a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships. Holi celebrations start on the night before Holi with a Holika Dahan where people gather, perform religious rituals in front of the bonfire, and pray that their internal evil be destroyed. The next morning is celebrated as Holi – a free-for-all festival of colours, where people smear each other with colours and drench each other. Water guns and water-filled balloons are also used to play and colour each other. Anyone and everyone is fair game, friend or stranger, rich or poor, man or woman, children and elders.
Diwali: Falls in Oct/Nov, is the festival of lights. It symbolizes the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance". During Diwali, people wear their finest clothes, illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with diyas and rangoli, perform worship ceremonies of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth, light fireworks, and partake in family feasts, where sweets and gifts are shared."
A story of Ireland
Linda's story of the shamrock
"The shamrock has become a symbol of Ireland. Throughout the years, most inhabitants of the land have thought shamrocks hold a greater meaning or purpose. The druids believed the shamrocks were sacred and kept evil away. The Celts believed the number three to be sacred and therefore, valued shamrocks because of their three heart-shaped leaves. Legend has it that Saint Patrick himself used the Shamrock to illustrate the idea of a holy trinity. There’s just something pleasant about these simple little plants."
A story of Australia
Shaun's story of growing up in Australia
"Growing up in a regional town in South East Queensland was awesome! We lived in a quiet street, a few minutes bike ride from our school, 10 minutes or less drive to most places and only 15 minutes to the beach (this was considered a ‘long’ drive for us), and my parents still live there today. I grew up with my 2 brothers and we had really good mates just across the street. We were outdoor kids and spent most afternoons and weekends out and about with our mates either on our bikes, playing sport, building some sort of hideout or exploring and finding/creating new activities. We had a little yabby spot at the end of our street that would come alive every time it rained which was absolutely beaut! I have so many great memories and stories from my childhood, we were a really inventive bunch and did most things outside (and barefoot). We were into camping, fishing and anything on or near the water and living where we lived meant that these sorts of activities were so accessible to us. We were really spoilt for choice!
At Ambition & AccountAbilitywe believe deeply in diversity and inclusion, so everyone feels as though they belong, in our team and within Australia.