February 3, 2021
WORLD RELIGION DAY 2021
Mayor Jim Watson proclaimed January 17, 2021 to be World Religion Day in Ottawa. Whereas in recent years, the proclamation was presented at City Hall to two or three representatives of the Ottawa Bahá'í community, the pandemic prevented an in-person presentation this year.
However, the Mayor tweeted a copy of the proclamation on the day, noting that he is “Pleased to partner with @OttawaBahais in proclaiming World Religion Day in Ottawa”.
The text of the proclamation highlights Ottawa's rich tradition of interfaith cooperation, as well as the City's long-standing commitment to diversity.
The Bahá’í teachings also emphasize the importance of diversity. Speaking in Paris in 1911, ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá, one of the Central Figures of the Bahá’í Faith, observed that “[i]f you beheld a garden in which all the plants were the same as to form, color and perfume, it would not seem beautiful to you at all, but, rather, monotonous and dull. The garden which is pleasing to the eye and which makes the heart glad, is the garden in which are growing side by side flowers of every hue, form and perfume, and the joyous contrast of color is what makes for charm and beauty. So is it with trees. An orchard full of fruit trees is a delight; so is a plantation planted with many species of shrubs. It is just the diversity and variety that constitutes its charm; each flower, each tree, each fruit, besides being beautiful in itself, brings out by contrast the qualities of the others, and shows to advantage the special loveliness of each and all…The diversity in the human family should be the cause of love and harmony, as it is in music where many different notes blend together in the making of a perfect chord.”
Specifically with regard to different religions, Bahá’ís also believe that “[a]ll down the ages the prophets of God have been sent into the world to serve the cause of truth…All the Manifestations of God came with the same purpose, and they have all sought to lead men into the paths of virtue.”
With this in mind, World Religion Day was established in 1950 to bring attention to the harmony of the spiritual principles of every religion, as well as religion's role in developing vibrant communities.
View proclamation here.
 PARIS TALKS: Addresses Given by ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá in 1911