On October 21st, the Bahá’ís of Belize marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh, the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, with a “Two Centuries of Light” national celebration in Belmopan.
This program was just one of thousands of celebrations held around the world in an extraordinary period of 72 hours starting with sunset in the South Pacific and closing with Sunset in Hawaii. “It’s amazing to feel like I am part of something global and bigger that just myself, my family, and my country…to know that millions are celebrating the life of Baha’u’llah with us today is pretty cool” said Monica Bernard, a youth from Belize City.
The event in Belmopan highlighted some of the talent and diversity of the Bahá’í community of Belize through music, arts, dance, and video. Some of the highlights included music by Garifuna artist, Joshua Arana who emphasized the importance of the harmony of culture and religion, an original song from special guest Tara Ellis from LA, youth step dancing and singing, children’s songs, black light show, and viewing of clips from a special video released by the Baha’í World Center for the occasion. Over 200 hundred Bahá’ís and their guests came together to enjoy the program and good company.
What makes this milestone so important is the relevance of Baha’u’llah’s message for today. His vision of the oneness of humanity is an antidote to the challenges that corrode society worldwide. At the core of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh, is the vital importance of unity with members of all Faiths, equality of men and women, the celebration of diversity of all races and cultures, and the responsibility of every individual to contribute to the creation of a society of justice, peace, and unity. Bahá’u’lláh states: “Let your vision be world-embracing, rather than confined to your own self.” This vision is what Bahá’ís celebrated on the day of Bahá’u’lláh’s birth.
Heitha Beane, Baha’í national secretary: “What I love about being a Baha’í is the principle of unity with all people. Growing up I had strong relationships with people of all faiths and backgrounds – we were encouraged from a young age to show loving kindness to everyone we met. The teachings of Baha’u’llah give us a framework for how to live our lives in a way that brings true joy to ourselves and others…these teachings are not just for the Bahá’ís…they are for everyone!”
In addition to the national event, local events were held throughout the country in private homes and Baha’í Centers.