World Religion Day

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World Religion Day
Observed by Bahá'ís, interfaith and multi-faith organizations[1]
Type International, cultural
Significance Celebration of the oneness of religion and its role in human society
Date Third Sunday in January
2017 date January 15  (2017-01-15)
2018 date January 21  (2018-01-21)
2019 date January 20  (2019-01-20)
2020 date January 19  (2020-01-19)
Frequency annual
First time December 8, 1949

World Religion Day is an 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]

Described as a "Bahá'í-inspired idea that has taken on a life of its own",[2] the origins of World Religion Day lie in the Bahá'í principles of the oneness of religion and of progressive revelation, which describe religion as evolving continuously throughout the history of humanity.[3][4] The purpose of World Religion Day is to highlight the ideas that the spiritual principles underlying the world's religions are harmonious, and that religions play a significant role in unifying humanity.[1][2]

Purpose[edit]

Initially a Bahá'í observance, World Religion Day was inspired by the Bahá'í principles of the oneness of religion and of progressive revelation, which describe religion as evolving continuously throughout the history of humanity.[3][4] It promotes these principles by highlighting the ideas that the spiritual principles underlying the world's religions are harmonious, and that religions play a significant role in unifying humanity.[1][2]

As a means of clarifying the nature and purpose of World Religion Day, the Universal House of Justice, the elected council that serves as the head of the Bahá'í Faith noted in a 1968 message that, rather than providing a "platform for all religions and their emergent ecumenical ideas," the observance serves as "a celebration of the need for and the coming of a world religion for mankind, the Bahá'í Faith itself."[5]

In April 2002, the Universal House of Justice published a letter, "To the World’s Religious Leaders", in which it stated:

...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.[6]

World Religion Day has been described as a "Bahá'í-inspired idea that has taken on a life of its own",[2] because its observance is no longer confined to the Bahá'í community, where it originally took shape. Although observances of World Religion Day are still sponsored and supported by Bahá'í communities worldwide, Baha'i institutions such as the Universal House of Justice or the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States no longer play active roles in the promotion of events, apart from reporting on them. Instead, an increasing number of observances are independently organized by interfaith or multi-faith coalitions.[1][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.[7] In 1949 observances in various communities in the United States made the local newspapers in December called "World Religion Day".[8] 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.[6][9] It also began to be observed internationally starting as early as in Australia in 1950 in two cities[10] and Bolivia in 1951.[11] 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.[12] In Laos, for example, meetings were noted in 1958,[13] 1959,[14] and 1960, among many countries activities.[15][16] In the Netherlands in 1962 it was noted in several cities.[17]

More pronounced awareness[edit]

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

It was noted on various AM radio stations in the 1950s and 1960s:

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

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

  • 1966 – Reno Nevada[34] and Portsmouth, New Hampshire[35]
  • 1967 – Arcadia, California[36]
  • 1969 – Carbondale, Illinois[37]
  • 1973 – Hamburg, New York[38]
  • 1974[39] and 1975[40] – Brandon, Manitoba
  • 1977 – Hamburg, New York,[41]

In 1968 the proclamation was issued by Warren E. Hearnes, Governor of Missouri.[42]

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."[43][44][45]

Modern observance[edit]

There is a long tradition of hosting panels and symposia with representatives of many religions at World Religion Day observances.[46]

After years of activity since 2000[47]:1:02min in 2011 Ottawa city government hosted an event that was video taped.[48] It was subsequently noted in 2014 on CTV Television Network.[49]

Since 2013 participants have gathered at a virtual presentation in Second Life[50]:1:44min at the UUtopia Center for an observance.[51] The 2014 observance had screenshots taken.[52] The 2015 event[53] of talks of a panel of speakers was recorded.[50]

In 2013 the Parliament of Religions noted it.[54] The Oxford University Press' blog noted it in 2015.[55]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Buck 2011, pp. 936–938
  2. ^ a b c d e J. Gordon Melton; Martin Baumann, eds. (September 21, 2010). Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices (2nd edition ed.). ABC-CLIO. pp. 3138–3139. ISBN 9781598842043. 
  3. ^ a b Smith, Peter (2000). "Progressive revelation". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp. 276–277. ISBN 1-85168-184-1. 
  4. ^ a b Rameshfar, Saphira. "January 17, 2016 – World Religion Day: Celebrating Our Unity". The Interfaith Observer. Retrieved June 28, 2017. 
  5. ^ The Universal House of Justice (1988). "1710. World Religion Day, Purpose of". In Hornby, Helen. Lights of Guidance (second part): A Bahá'í Reference File. Wilmette, Illinois: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 978-8185091464. 
  6. ^ a b Buck 2011, pp. 937
  7. ^ "Baha'i community to sponsor address". Portland Sunday Telegram And Sunday Press Herald. Portland, Maine. October 19, 1947. p. 42. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  8. ^ * "Baha'i group". The Sun and the Erie County Independent. Hamburg, New York. December 8, 1949. p. 2. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Meeting the Crisis; Tell the story; World Religion Day". Bahá'í News. December 1949. p. 4. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  10. ^ * "Baha'i Faith – World Religion Day". The Southern Mail. Bowral, New South Wales. January 6, 1950. p. 3. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Latin American News". Bahá'í News (241). March 1951. p. 7. 
  12. ^ "The Oneness of religion is proclaimed internationally with many public observances of World Religion Day". Bahá'í News. March 1958. pp. 12–14. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Four Faiths Join in Observance of World Reliqion Day in Laos". Bahá'í News (326). April 1958. p. 11. 
  14. ^ "Newspaper and Radio Publicity, Visual Aids Assist in Proclaiming World Religion Day Observances on Theme of The Oneness of Religion; The audience at the special World Religion Day Program in Vientiane..." Bahá'í News. No. 337. March 1959. p. 9. 
  15. ^ Rabbani, R., ed. (1992). The Ministry of the Custodians 1957–1963. Bahá'í World Centre. p. 221. ISBN 0-85398-350-X. 
  16. ^ "The Oneness of Religion Proclaimed to Millions on World Religion Day". Bahá'í News. No. 349. March 1960. pp. 2–4. 
  17. ^ "First-Time Observances Held by Three Netherlands Communities". Bahá'í News. No. 373. April 1962. pp. 4–5. 
  18. ^ "Baha'i to have two programs". The Times. San Mateo, California. January 19, 1951. p. 14. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  19. ^ "Expect ten at Baha'i convention". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. January 24, 1951. p. 21. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  20. ^ Malloy, Fran (January 16, 1951). "Baha'i World Religion Day set Jan 21". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Fairbanks, Alaska. p. 1. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  21. ^ "Baha'is to observe World Religion Day". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Fairbanks, Alaska. January 16, 1960. p. 5. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Baha'is religion day is observed". Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Fairbanks, Alaska. January 20, 1962. p. 5. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Baha'i's present radio program". Daily Independent Journal. San Rafael, California. January 16, 1954. p. 10. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  24. ^ "Baha'i lecturer is speaker here for World Religion Day". The Kokomo Tribune. Kokomo, Indiana. January 17, 1955. p. 9. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  25. ^ "Broadcast set" (PDF). The Geneva Times. Geneva, New York. January 14, 1956. p. 5. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  26. ^ "Baha'is observe World Religion Day". Arizona Daily Sun. Flagstaff, Arizona. January 18, 1957. p. 9. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  27. ^ "Baha'i spiritual group to hear talk by actor" (PDF). Buffalo Courier-Express. January 16, 1954. p. 3. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  28. ^ "Baha'i speaker". Daily Independent Journal. San Rafael, California. January 12, 1961. p. 21. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  29. ^ "Baha'is to celebrate". The New York Age. New York, New York. January 3, 1953. p. 11. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  30. ^ "Two local women planning to attend religious meeting". The Circleville Herald. Circleville, Ohio. January 14, 1955. p. 8. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Baha'i program here tomorrow". The Bridgeport Post. Bridgeport, Connecticut. January 19, 1957. p. 2. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Baha'i World Day". Tucson Daily Citizen. Tucson, Arizona. January 15, 1972. p. 8. Retrieved February 12, 2015. 
  33. ^ "Baha'i Faith leader sets visit to Pee Dee". Florence Morning News. Florence, South Carolina. January 20, 1973. p. 5. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  34. ^ "Religion Day observance set". Nevada State Journal. Reno, Nevada. January 11, 1966. p. 19. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  35. ^ "Proclamation". The Portsmouth Herald. Portsmouth, New Hampshire. January 15, 1966. p. 20. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  36. ^ "Religion Day highlights Baha'i goal". Arcadia Tribune. Arcadia, California. January 5, 1967. p. 28. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  37. ^ "Baha'i Faith will observe". Religion Day Southern Illinoisan. Carbondale, Illinois. January 10, 1969. p. 5. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  38. ^ "World Religion Day" (PDF). The Photo News. Hamburg, New York. January 17, 1973. p. 12. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  39. ^ "World Religion Day to be observed". The Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. January 19, 1974. p. 5. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  40. ^ "Proclamation for World Religion Day". The Brandon Sun. Brandon, Manitoba, Canada. January 18, 1975. p. 18. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  41. ^ "World Religion Day" (PDF). The Hamburg Sun. Hamburg, New York. January 13, 1977. p. 5. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  42. ^ "Religion day being observed". The Sunday News and Tribune. Jefferson City, Missouri. January 21, 1968. p. 8. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  43. ^ Buck 2011, pp. 937–938
  44. ^ One Country. Congo Republic issues stamp for World Religion Day. Volume 18, Issue 4. January–March 2007.
  45. ^ Bahá'í Library: Bahá'í Stamps
  46. ^ * "World Religion Day program". The Times. San Mateo, California. January 11, 1950. p. 5. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  47. ^ A Sacred Life: Beliefs in Action, World Religion Day, 2014 (television). Ottawa, Canada: CTV News. January 19, 2014. 
  48. ^ religions (January 16, 2011). World Religion Day 2011 at Ottawa City Hall (video). Ottawa, Canada: Bahá'ís of Ottawa. 
  49. ^ A Sacred Life: Beliefs in Action, World Religion Day, 2014 (television). Ottawa, Canada: CT Morning Live. January 17, 2014. 
  50. ^ a b 2015 World Religion Day in Second Life (video). Second Life, UUTopia: Programa de Paz. January 18, 2015. 
  51. ^ "2014-01-23 LG Minutes". First UU Congregation of Second Life. January 23, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  52. ^ pcnewton (January 19, 2014). "World Religion Day 2014 in SL". Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  53. ^ "2014-12-11 LG Minutes". First UU Congregation of Second Life. December 11, 2014. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  54. ^ "Baha'i World Religion Day January 20 start golden rule conversations". The Parliament Blog. Council for a Parliament of the Word's Religions. January 17, 2013. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 
  55. ^ Alex Guyver (January 18, 2015). "World Religion Day 2015". Oxford University Press's Academic Insights for the Thinking World. Oxford University Press. Retrieved February 14, 2015. 

References[edit]