World Religion Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of every January. This year it will be celebrated on January 16. Although the day was initiated in the United States of America, the day is celebrated internationally.
It was started by the Baha’i faith Members in the US to honor the beliefs that are commonly shared by the World Religions. The assembly was organized to have an aim at “The Golden Rule” and how the religions must be a force of unity but not a cause of division.
World Religion Day was created as a day for religious organizations to develop talks and forums which are associated with distinct faiths. Hence it is a day for every individual to try and reach out to other persons of different religious identities.
History of World Religion Day:
World Religion Day was first celebrated in October 1947 in Portland, Maine at the Eastland Park Hotel under the title of “World Peace Through World Religion”. Firuz Kazemzadeh organized the talk at the event.
In December 1949 various communities in the United States of America observed local newspapers called “World Religion Day”. The day was popularized across the world by Baha’i members of the National Spiritual Assembly which were held on January 15 of 1949.
Baha’i is a form of faith that emerged in the 19th century. The Baha’i have three core principles: Unity of God, Religion, and HumanKind. They believe that all the humans in the world are born to be equal, and all of them have the same rights and duties.
Baha’i also believes that there is only one god and the spirit of all religions is from that single god. In 1951, the day was internationally observed in Australia and Bolivia 1951.
In 1958, Baha’i members had noticed some events in different countries to attract a lot of people and to overlap with race amity priorities. And in 1962, World Religion Day was celebrated in Several cities in the Netherlands.
The main aim of the day is to create or spread awareness among the people about the variety of religions that are practiced in the world today. And to build an understanding between the people of all faiths.
How to celebrate World Religion Day:
Spread the awareness among the people about every individual to try and reach out to another person of various religious identities.
Some of the organizations celebrate the day by organizing interfaith events, the place where faith leaders gathered together to give talks and lectures. Every individual must be talking to other people about their beliefs and try to understand the faith of other religions.
How to observe World Religion Day:
With so many religions and belief systems, how is it possible to find common ground? This is the goal of events that take place on this day to acknowledge similarities that different faiths have.
For example, most religions have their own version of the “Golden Rule.” This is the belief that it is good to treat others as you want to be treated. Along with finding common ground, this day seeks to promote inter-faith understanding and harmony.
How to participate:
- Attend an interfaith service
- Learn about different religions
- Commune with those who practice a different religion
- Think about your own religious beliefs and how you got them
- Talk to your children about why your family practices the religion it does
- Discuss with others the importance of religion in the world
Fun facts about World Religion Day:
- Some experts estimate that there are 4,200 religions in the world.
- About 75% of people around the world affiliate with the majority religion of their country.
- Christianity is the largest religion in the world, followed by Islam and then Hinduism.
- India, Mauritius, and Nepal are home to 97% of the world’s Hindus.
- There are 157 countries with a majority Christian population.