Sunset in Hawaii closes extraordinary period of worldwide celebrations

With sunset in Hawaii late Sunday, the period marking the bicentenary of Baha’u’llah’s birth came to a close.

Over 72 hours Friday-to-Sunday, a cross-section of humanity, unprecedented in its diversity, in virtually every spot on the globe, joined in a striking diversity of action to commemorate the birth of Baha’u’llah.

Dinner

About 150 Baha’is, friends, and acquaintances gathered for dinner, performances, and to watch Light to the World Saturday in Lincoln Mill for the Huntsville Bicentenary observance

Countless individuals were inspired by the festivities surrounding the bicentenary and were moved by their encounters with the life and writings of Baha’u’llah.

Addressing about 150 gathered for the observance in Huntsville Saturday evening , Kenny Anderson, Huntsville’s Multicultural Affairs Officer, said, “I am so happy … to celebrate these 200 years of enlightenment, and the opportunity to understand that when we believe that when something is possible, nothing is impossible.”

In Suriname, Vice President Ashwin Adhin planned to attend a reception for the bicentenary held at the National Baha’i Centre. After a short program which included prayers, a film about the history of the Faith in Suriname, and a talk, he decided to cancel his plans so he would have time to speak with the Baha’is about community-building in the young country. On the same day, the Baha’i community of Canada received a public message of good-will from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, one of the last of a wide array of such messages received in recent days from officials.

Many celebrations throughout the world featured screenings of the film Light to the World, which tells the story of Baha’u’llah’s life and the impact of His teachings. A participant at a gathering in East Asia said, “After watching the film, everyone was saying ‘Baha’u’llah’ with so much ease and comfort…It was as if they had known Him for many years and He was a familiar Figure to them.”

At a national celebration in Madrid, one attendee said, “the message of Baha’u’llah is exactly what humanity needs. Listening to these principles is not just a matter of hearing a beautiful message, it is essential for the progress of the human race.”

As the earth turned on its axis, torch passed on to Europe, America, Huntsville

BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — From a performance by the State Philharmonic Symphony in Azerbaijan, through intimate gatherings in living rooms across Europe and the Americas, to an evening at Lincoln Mill in Huntsville, and prayer meeting at a national monument in Washington D.C., moving west across the world, communities carried on the torch of festivities celebrating the light of Baha’u’llah’s life and teachings on the occasion of the bicentenary of His birth.

In Huntsville, Baha’is, their friends and acquaintances, came together to share a meal, watch multi-cultural performances, sing, and watch the local debut of a feature film about Baha’u’llah, the Light to the World.

“I thought that the video would mostly be about the life and history of Baha’u’llah. But I realized that it’s about how people today have been affected by His teachings and have made them their own. I realized that His words must be something very meaningful since people all around the world have been responding to His words and writings for the past 200 years,” commented one young person after seeing the film as it debuted across the globe.

Another said: “After watching the film, I saw that people all around the world are doing these activities, and I realized how blessed I am to be included among those who have come across and are studying Baha’u’llah’s words.”

In Norway, Baha’i communities throughout the country coordinated the lighting of beacons in towns and cities from north to south, inspired by the national tradition of burning cairns on mountaintops to signal an important event. While lights dotted the country on Friday night, friends gathered inside their homes to offer prayers and tell stories about the life and person of Baha’u’llah. A map of the trajectory of the beacons can be seen here.

A performance from the State Philharmonic Orchestra in Azerbaijan in honor of the bicentenary

Receptions with dignitaries and officials were also held in many countries, including Kazakhstan and Austria. Across Moldova, communities held joyful celebrations outside to commemorate the bicentenary. In Santa Tecla, El Salvador, the town hall was packed with people who gathered to watch the film.

Prayers continued to be offered at the Houses of Worship on every continent, including Frankfurt, and Wilmette. In Santiago, the Temple attracted nearly 5,000 visitors, many participating in services and other events including viewing an exhibition, attending talks, and taking part in children’s activities.

Live streaming of events at Houses of Worship will continue throughout the day, beginning with a broadcast from Kampala, Uganda, starting shortly [7:30 GMT, schedule].

Sunset Friday brings light over Oceania, Asia, Africa – Sunrise locally begins a day of celebration in Huntsville

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The Baha’i Community of Huntsville , and friends and guests, will observe the Bicentenary Saturday evening.

BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — From Apia to Tokyo to Lubumbashi to Delhi, a striking array of bicentenary celebrations for the birth of Baha’u’llah unfolded throughout the day on Friday.

In Samoa and India, celebrations were held at Baha’i Houses of Worship, marking the beginning of the 200-year anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah.

Countless other commemorations took place among close friends and neighbors. In Akita, Japan, for example, a small group of youth joined a celebration in the home of one their friends, where they watched Light to the World, a recently released film about Baha’u’llah and then made watercolor paintings to embellish quotations from His writings.

Delhi

An observance at the Baha’i House of Worship in India.

“I always thought the prominent figures in the past were oppressive towards the weak,” said one of the youth while painting. “I was surprised to learn that Baha’u’llah gave up His wealth to actually help the downtrodden.”

In a village near Chiang Mai, Thailand, a student—one of only two Baha’is there—had hoped to invite a few friends and neighbors to a small commemoration at his residence. Unexpectedly, word of the celebration spread throughout the village, prompting a request to hold the gathering in the public community hall instead. More than 60 neighbors joined him to celebrate and watch a screening of Light to the World. The head of the village read before the audience the public message of the Prime Minister of Thailand to the Baha’i community there.

Vanatu

A parade in Port Vila, Vanuatu, on 20 October 2017

Some celebrations were on a larger scale. Hundreds walked together in parades held in a number of cities, including in the Democratic Republic of Congo and in Vanuatu.

“Today was a blessing to all,” said one of the participants from the island of Efate in Vanuatu. “It lit up the spirit of the celebration.”

Bicentenary website shifts to focus on 72 hours of celebration

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BAHA’I WORLD CENTRE — The setting of the sun over the Pacific islands of Kiribati at 3: a.m. (Huntsville time) marked the start of the global commemoration of the bicentenary of the birth of Baha’u’llah.

Over this period—spanning a total of 72 hours beginning in Kiribati on 20 October and ending at sunset in Hawaii on 22 October—celebrations will be held in thousands of localities throughout the world.

Programs at six Baha’i Houses of Worship will be available for view through a live stream on the official bicentenary website. The first of these will come from the Temple in New Delhi, India, and will begin today at 13:00 GMT, or 8 a.m. Central Time. A full schedule of the live streaming program is available on the site.

Glimpses of the festivities will be captured through a sampling of stories, photos, and videos on the bicentenary website. A regularly updated feed will show a few of the artistic presentations, service projects, commemorative gatherings, encounters with dignitaries, and other acts undertaken around the world to celebrate the life and teachings of Baha’u’llah.

“As the world now faces its most pressing challenges yet, we acclaim Baha’u’llah, born two hundred years ago…as the One Whose teachings will usher in that long-promised time when all humanity will live side by side in peace and unity,” the Universal House of Justice wrote in its October 2017 message for the occasion.

The period of celebration commemorates the birth of both Baha’u’llah, born 200 years ago in 1817, and the Bab—the forerunner of Baha’u’llah’s Revelation—born in 1819. These Twin Holy Days are celebrated on consecutive days as one annual festival.

Coverage on the bicentenary website begins soon after 8:00 GMT on 20 October and concludes at 4:00 GMT on 23 October. Documenting for the first time the worldwide events marking the anniversary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, the website will connect the world by providing a vista of some of the thousands of celebrations.

‘Light to the World’ – a feature movie about Bahá’u’lláh

Bahá’í World Centre, Haifa, Israel – There is a story unfolding. It is a story of humanity’s progress through history, propelled by the teachings of Messengers of God Who have guided humanity through its stages of development, and now to the dawn of its maturity.

Two hundred years ago, such a prophetic Figure appeared: Bahá’u’lláh. He brought teachings for this age that represent an end to division and otherness, through which––at long last––the oneness of humankind can be realized.

Discover more through accounts of people from diverse nations whose lives have been transformed by the light that Bahá’u’lláh brought to the world: http://www.bahai.org/light-to-the-world/

Light of Unity Fellowship Nature Walk

“Nature is God’s Will and is its expression
in and through the contingent world.”
“The world of humanity is like a garden
and the various races are the flowers which 
constitute its adornment and decoration.”
“The well-being of mankind, its peace and
security, are unattainable unless and until its
unity is firmly established. The earth is but
one country, and mankind its citizens.”
Quotations from Writings of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the eldest Son of Bahá’u’lláh.

All are invited to a ‘Light of Unity Fellowship Nature Walk,’ Sunday, Oct. 22, at 2 p.m. at the Madison County Nature Trail  in celebration of the vital principles of unity and oneness in diversity, and in honor of the 200th anniversary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith.

As we stroll through the inviting beauty of the changing Autumn colors, we will take a guided spiritual tour through a variety of activities including storytelling, group songs, prayers, and more!

Interfaith prayers are welcome. If you wish to be included in the program, please contact Alicia Tyson, aliciafelice@gmail.com.

So come lend your voice, your open heart, your smile, and your laughter for an afternoon of fellowship and fun!

See map below for the location of the Nature Trail on Green Mountain. We will gather down by the shore of the lake near the start of the trail.