The Northern Territory has numerous cultural celebrations throughout the year, although the largest festivals tend to fall during its Dry Season (May to September). Below is an overview of some of the NT’s celebrations in which many seniors take part and celebrate their cultures, families and communities.
The date of the Lunar New Year varies each year from late January to late February, with new year’s eve falling on the first new moon of the new year. The tradition of welcoming the Lunar New Year dates back to the time of Chinese Emperor Huang Li in 2600BC. Territorians from Thai, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Japanese, Malaysian, Singaporean and Indonesian backgrounds are among those who celebrate the Lunar New Year in the Northern Territory. Darwin is home to an established Chinese community that dates back to the late 1800s, when Chinese people arrived in Darwin in 1874 as indentured labourers.
At its core, International Women’s Day is an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of individual women and their continuing contribution to their local communities. In the Northern Territory, many events organised celebrate and recognise the cultural diversity of our community, and the important role women within our multicultural communities play.
Harmony Day is celebrated across the Northern Territory, especially by community groups and schools. The Day is part of ‘Harmony Week’ 17-23 March and is celebrated to promote diversity and acceptance of other cultures. Harmony Day aims to start a conversation about heritage, culture and community. The event coincides with the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (read more about PICAC NT’s Harmony Day).
The NT Thai Association transforms the Darwin Waterfront into a bursting cultural experience in honour of one of Thailand’s largest celebrations – the Songkran Festival. The Thailand Grand Festival combines with Thailand’s Water Festival also known as the “Songkran” or Thai New Year. The event showcases the Thai culture, entertainment, Bangkok street food and more.
Multicultural Community Services of Central Australia and the Alice Springs Town Council run a harmony event for Alice Springs.
The event is held on the lawns of the Alice Springs Town Council. It showcases food, films, music, dance and martial arts demonstrations from the town’s multicultural community.
The Darwin Waterfront Harmony Soiree is a celebration of the NT’s cultural richness, diversity and a display of harmony as a multicultural society. The event is organised by the NT Government, Darwin Waterfront Corporation, Darwin Community Arts and the Multicultural Council of the NT.
The event includes cultural activities and entertainment,delicious food from different parts of the world, lantern competition, lantern flotilla release and fireworks finale.
Italian priests were among the first group of migrants to come to Australia in the 19th century including the Northern Territory, to minister to communities as many Italians left for Australia in the early 1920s due to the Italian Unification which created economic turmoil. By the 1950s, Italians were playing an active role in the economic life in Alice Springs, excelling in property development and investment, as well as farming and retail. In the 1950s the Verdi Club was established in Alice Springs and by 1961 a group of Italians decided to form an Italian association, ‘Casa Italia’ to assist new migrants in getting used to the Territory lifestyle and alleviating homesickness. In July 1978 the premises at the Italian Club in Mararra, Darwin was opened.
In the early 1990s, Darwin’s Italian community held two Italian festivals to showcase the spirit and pride of Italian culture in the Darwin community. The Italian Festival Association (IFA) then went on to hold its first biennial event in May 2013. In 2017 at the George Brown Botanical Gardens, the festival attracted more than 20,000 people.
The Greek Glenti is held annually in the historic Bicentennial Park in Darwin, is the largest annual show of ethnic celebration in the Northern Territory. It’s a fun and vibrant festival where the Greek community shares their culture, food, wine, dance and music with locals and visitors.
International Translation Day is celebrated every year on the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator who is considered the patron saint of translators. The celebrations have been promoted by FIT (the International Federation of Translators) ever since it was set up in 1953 (read more).
National Unity Week is celebrated through inter-faith or intercultural event in the community. This is an opportunity for people of various cultures and faiths to meet one another, to learn from one another and recognise that unity builds a better future than division ever could (read more). In the Northern Territory, National Unity Week is championed by the Multicultural Council of the Northern Territory.
PICAC leads COTA NT’s appreciation of its volunteers on International Volunteers’ Day due to the role our volunteers play in ensuring the MASP program continues to assist seniors from CaLD backgrounds stay connected with each other, and the wider community. (view more about volunteer drivers).
Visit the Home Affairs website for the full calendar of cultural events held throughout Australia.