BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — From the island nations dotting the Pacific to the vast lands of the Americas, preparations in tens of thousands of localities for the 200th anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah next week are finding expression in a flourishing of activities.
Inspired in this momentous period, individuals and communities have been producing original works of art, including film, painting, poetry, and music. Stories of sacrificial and selfless acts of service have multiplied and given rise to countless more. And gatherings of prayer and celebration are already taking place in many parts of the world, bringing together people of all walks of life.
A youth group in El Chamizo, Colombia, moved by the teachings of Baha’u’llah on unity and oneness asked for permission to commemorate the bicentenary of His birth at their school. Sixty people, including teachers, parents, and classmates attended the celebration which included moving accounts of Baha’u’llah’s life.
Throughout the Democratic Republic of the Congo—one of the first countries in the world to be charged with building a national Baha’i House of Worship—plans for the bicentenary in cities, towns, and villages there are expected to attract vast participation. To begin the period of bicentenary celebrations in the country at the beginning of this month, nearly 900 people paraded three kilometers through the streets of Lubumbashi holding banners and signing songs.
Japan has the highest concentration of places of worship in the world. As an act of worship in commemoration of this bicentenary period, the Baha’i community in Yamaguchi has been honoring the spiritual heritage of the city by visiting historic, sacred sites—some of which are over 1,000 years old—and, with a heightened sense of reverence, praying at each.
In Papua New Guinea, the remote village of Daga was in need of a photocopier that could print invitations to the bicentenary celebration for thousands of people. A group of friends carried the machine over mountains and through forests, delivering it to the village. It is expected that more than 4,000 people will attend the celebrations next weekend.
planning celebrations in their localities. The national postal service issued two limited edition stamps, designed by the Baha’is in Netherlands, in honor of the momentous occasion. The Dutch Baha’i community has used these stamps to mail invitations for bicentenary celebrations in their country.
The Karnataka state of India has been experiencing the worst drought in over four decades, which has significantly impacted the agriculture of the region. Families in the Baha’i community in one village there decided to each set aside a pound of rice, so they would be able to host and feed the entire village of 1,500 during the bicentenary celebrations.
In Kazakhstan, the approaching bicentenary has inspired the making of a film about the history of the Faith in the country, beginning with its arrival to the region in the 19th century. The film begins telling the story of the vibrant community of Ishqabad (in modern-day Turkmenistan) that built the first Baha’i House of Worship.
The Baha’i community of Ireland has created a series of 95 video clips about the teachings and life of Baha’u’llah, in honor of the 200th anniversary of His birth. One video has been released every day and will continue until the bicentenary.
A mosaic of humanity, diverse and noble, carrying out acts of worship and service, can be seen forming across the surface of the planet.
The occasion is prompting people the world over to reflect on the life of a Figure Who accepted 40 years of imprisonment and exile to proclaim the oneness of humanity, inspiring generations to contribute to the construction of a peaceful and just world.
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