The World Religion Day is celebrated every year on third Sunday in the month of January. This day was first observed in the United States in 1950 by the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha’is.
This day celebrates the unity and oneness of all religions. Interfaith understanding is encouraged on this day and this is the main essence of the World Religion Day. Though it started in the United States, the World Religion Day is now observed all over the world.
The purpose of this day is to make people understand that the underlying message and basic principles of all religion is almost the same and the motive of religion is to bring unity and harmony among human beings. This is now on its sixty-fifth year.
- About this day
Baha’is emerged in Persia in the 19th Century is a kind of faith that follows the three principles, unity of God, mankind and religion. They believe that there is one eternal power or one God and that all religions have formed from it. They also believe in equality in mankind. They believe that all human beings have same duty towards the world and are entitled to equal rights. Baha’is believes as all religions have emerged from a single God all of them have common goals. It aim towards unity in diversity and it believes that without unity in religion, world peace will never be achieved.
- History of this day
This day was first observed in the October of 1947 in Portland at Eastland Park Hotel with a speech by Firuz Kazemzadeh. The observance of this day among various communities in the United States made the newspapers call it as the World Religion Day in 1949.On the December of 1949, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is declared that this day will be officially observed on 15th of January every year. The very essence of this day was so powerful that it attracted people’s attention and was soon observed internationally. It was observed in the two cities of Australia in 1950 and in Bolivia in the year of 1951.
- Celebration of this day
Events that develop interfaith understandings are held on this day by various organizations. Leaders of different faith and religion gather under one roof to discuss and give lectures on the beliefs and sayings of the Lord in their respective religion. All the people gathered are encouraged to listen and form an understanding about various religions. It helps people to realize that all religion has the same goal and that the basic essence of all of them is just the same. Thus it is way of uniting people and not separating them from one another. Unification with the help of religion eradicates differences and makes this world a better place to live in. These reasons of celebrating this day have attracted people all over the world and this is why it has become a day of celebration worldwide. People are also expected to socialize with the people of other religions in a friendly manner and with a spirit of fellowship. Inter-religious discussions, conferences and other gatherings are also held on this day. The followers of this faith recognize Baha’u’llah along with other figures like Krishna, Buddha, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, Muhammad and Zoroaster.
- World religion day as a holiday
This day is not a public and national holiday thus all banks, institutions, offices and shops remain open on this day. But even though it’s not a national holiday, it’s observed worldwide.
- Postage stamps issued
Sri Lanka was the very first country to issue the World Religion Day stamp in the year of 1985. Singapore also issued a stamp with the names of nine religions listed on it in 1999. The words unity in diversity which depicts the goal of this day is written on it and it was a tribute to Singapore’s Inter-Religious Organizations’ 50th anniversary. After this the Republic of Congo issued another stamp in 2007. This stamp depicts a picture of the globe and surrounding it are symbols of eleven different religions. The stamp also reads that the source of all religions is a single God which is written in French.
- Temple in Chile
The very first Baha’i temple is being made in Santiago. The faith was brought to the South America by an American woman centuries ago. The look of the temple reflects Baha’i faith concepts. The exterior of the temple is made from the pieces of cast-glass and marble panels in order to honor the sunlight or the day light that will make the entire structure dazzle. This temple will have an underground tunnel on completion and will be three stories high.
The world Religion day will be observed on 15th of January in 2017. From its initiation in 1950, the observation of this day has grown. In the 1950’s – 1960’s, this day was noted on various radio stations. Many famous figures had given lectures on this event as well.