Column: Celebrating World Religion Day

January 21, 2024 | 0 Comments

[Column written by Shyama Ezekiel-Fagundo]

Seventy-three years have passed since the first World Religion Day was celebrated in 1950. An annual observance marked on the third Sunday of each January, this year’s date- occurrence number 74- falls on Sunday, January 21st. What is World Religion Day? Why did it start? And why should it mean anything to us now?

Established by the Baháʼís of the United States in 1950 as a way to foster interfaith understanding and to build fellow-feeling, this day celebrates diversity of belief and religion across the world. And while no longer directly connected to the Baháʼí community, World Religion Day has gathered recognition across the US and throughout the globe, calling for members of all faiths in the world to recognize their common spiritual goals.

World Religion Day Bermuda January 2024

These days many see religion as a cacophonous jumble of oppositions- chaotic, fragmentary, divergent, and a source of more conflict than cohesion. But to Baháʼís, the source that transcends all those man-made differences is the belief in one Creator, one God who is the same God of all religions. This concept of religious unity also translates into a belief that we all, every one of us, is part of one human family.

In the mid 1800s, Baháʼu’lláh, the prophet and founder of the Baháʼí Faith, taught, “The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” And out of this core belief of unity in diversity comes the understanding that, stated in Baháʼu’lláh’s own words says, “The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established.”

As I write this just following Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I am also drawn to an excerpt of a sermon given by MLK in 1967, “Every nation must develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies. This call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all mankind. This oft misinterpreted concept, has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man.”

In this age of uncertainty, what better way to see each other as members of one human family than to try and understand, if only for one day, how a person from another faith views the world? This World Religion Day, why not read a prayer from another religious tradition, have an interfaith prayer gathering, or have a conversation with someone from a different faith background and find points of commonality? I bet you would find many more similarities at the root of both your faiths than you expect. This Sunday, why not ask a Christian, a Muslim, a Jew, Hindu, a Buddhist, a Baháʼí how and why they pray for peace?

For more information on the Baháʼí faith please see and

- Shyama Ezekiel-Fagundo, a member of the Baháʼí community of Smiths Parish.

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