Tens of thousands commemorate bicentenary across Canada
Celebration in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, Québec

Tens of thousands commemorate bicentenary across Canada

In recent days, Baha’is across Canada have been celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of the Bab with their friends and neighbours. More than 1,000 celebrations were held in neighbourhoods, towns, and city-centres across Canada, and they were attended by at least 26,000 people.

Celebration in Guelph, Ontario
Art piece by Reza Mostmand

A snapshot of images from these celebrations is shared here.

Commemorated on October 29, the birth of the Bab is regarded by Baha’is as a Holy Day on which work is suspended. It is typically marked by celebrations that include prayers, artistic expressions, and acts of community service. The following day marks a second Holy Day, the birth of Baha’u’llah – the Messenger of God foretold by the Bab.

The celebration of 200 years since the birth of the Bab made this year’s Holy Day momentous. The Universal House of Justice, the international governing council of the Baha’i community, addressed a letter for the occasion:

The multitudes who recognized the Báb were summoned to heroism, and their magnificent response is recorded by history. Let every one who is awake to the condition of the world, and to the persistent evils that warp the lives of its inhabitants, heed Bahá’u’lláh’s call to selfless and steadfast service—heroism for the present age. What else will rescue the world but the efforts of countless souls who each make the welfare of humanity their principal, their dominating concern?

The diversity of celebrations across Canada revealed a dynamic and vibrant community that is intimately involved with its surrounding society. Gathering in living rooms, community centres, and open spaces, Baha’is joined with others to celebrate the appearance of a new religion to humanity. The locations spanned the country, from Baker Lake to Îles de la Madeine, and from Charlottetown to the Cowichan Valley, people gathered together to pray, share stories of the life of the Bab, reflect on the significance of his teachings, and consider plans to translate them into action.

In many locations, people viewed a film created for the occasion. Dawn of the Light was commissioned by the Universal House of Justice to narrate the life and teachings of the Bab alongside personal vignettes of individuals in different parts of the world. The film reveals a world that continues to struggle against many of the same injustices and superstitions the Bab sought to eliminate, and it shows how people are summoning the courage to work for the betterment of society.

Canada’s celebrations were part of a global effort to commemorate this significant bicentenary, which were reflected in a remarkable digital broadcast of events and photography that unfolded over 72 hours as the sun rose over Kiribati and set on Hawaii.