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World Religion Day – Baha’i

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Sun, 17/02/2019 (All day)

 21st January. 

World Religion Day – Baha’i

World Religion Day is an interfaith observance initiated in 1950 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, celebrated worldwide on the third Sunday in January each year.  Though initiated in the United States, World Religion Day has come to be celebrated internationally [1]

Its purpose is to promote the idea that the spiritual principles underlying the world’s religions are harmonious, and to suggest that religions play a role in unifying humanity [1] In April 2002, the Universal House of Justice, the international Bahá’í governing body, published a letter “To the World’s Religious Leaders”, in which it was stated that: 

Interfaith discourse, if it is to contribute meaningfully to healing the ills that afflict a desperate humanity, must now address honestly.  the implications of the over-arching truth ...  that God is one and that, beyond all diversity of cultural expression and human interpretation, religion is likewise one [2]

History [edit]

The earliest observation entitled “World Peace Through World Religion” was in Portland, Maine at the Eastland Park Hotel in October 1947 with a talk by Firuz Kazemzadeh [3] In 1949 observances in various communities in the United States made the local newspapers in December called “World Religion Day” [4] It was standardized across the United States by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States in December 1949 to be held January 15 [2] [5] It also began to be observed internationally starting as early as in Australia in 1950 in two cities [6] and Bolivia in 1951 [7] By 1958 Bahá’ís had gathered notices of events in a number of countries—sometimes attracting hundreds of people and sometimes overlapping with race amity priorities [8] In Laos for example, meetings were noted in 1958, [9] 1959, [10] and 1960, among many countries activities [11] [12]

In the Netherlands in 1962 it was noted in several cities [13]

More pronounced awareness [edit]

The observance has grown in some scale of recognition beginning in the 1950s. 

Various noted speakers have given talks in the 1950s to the 1970s: 

O.  Z.  Whitehead, actor and writer [23]

Dwight W.  Allen, professor of education and reformer [24]

Stanwood Cobb, educator and reformer [25] [26]

Hilda Yen, diplomat and aviator [27]

Robert B.  Powers, police chief and writer [28]

William Sears, television and radio personality [29]

A number of locales have seen Mayoral proclamations in the United States and Canada in the 1960s and 1970s: 

1966 – Reno Nevada [30] and Portsmouth, New Hampshire [31]

1967 – Arcadia, California [32]

1969 – Carbondale, Illinois [33]

1973 – Hamburg, New York [34]

1974 [35] and 1975 [36] – Brandon, Manitoba 

1977 – Hamburg, New York, [37]

In 1968 the proclamation was issued by Warren E.  Hearnes, Governor of Missouri [38]

Stamps [edit]

In 1985 Sri Lanka issued the first World Religion Day postage stamp.  This was followed by a stamp issued by the Republic of the Congo in 2007.  The Congo stamp showed a globe with the symbols of 11 religions surrounding it, and the text (in French) read, “God is the source of all religions.  “ [39] [40] [41]

Modern events [edit]

After years of activity since 2000 [42]:1:02min in 2011 Ottawa city government hosted an event that was video taped [43] It was subsequently noted in 2014 on CTV Television Network [44]

Since 2013 participants have gathered at a virtual presentation in Second Life [45]:1:44min at the UUtopia Center for an observance [46] The 2014 observance had screenshots taken [47] The 2015 event [48] of talks of a panel of speakers was recorded [45]

In 2013 the Parliament of Religions noted it [49] The Oxford University Press’ blog noted it in 2015 [50]

There is a long tradition of hosting panels and symposia with representatives of many religions at World Religion Day observances [51]

Feast Days. 

Month       Gregorian Date Bahá’í Date       Translation

17th 18 January        1 Sultán    Sovereignty

18th 6 February        1 Mulk      Dominion

19th 1 March    1 ‘Alá’      Loftiness

1st    20 March  1 Bahá      Splendor

2nd   8 April      1 Jalál       Glory

3rd   27 April    1 Jamál     Beauty

4th    16 May     1 ‘Azamat         Grandeur

5th    4 June       1 Núr        Light

6th    23 June     1 Rahmat  Mercy

7th    12 July     1 Kalimát Words

8th    31 July     1 Kamál    Perfection

9th    19 August 1 Asmá’    Names

10th 7 September      1 ‘Izzat     Might

11th 26 September   1 Mashíyyat      Will

12th 15 October        1 ‘Ilm       Knowledge

13th 3 November      1 Qudrat   Power

14th 22 November    1 Qawl      Speech

15th 11 December    1 Masá’il  Questions

16th 30 December    1 Sharaf    Honor

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