Centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing: A look at worldwide commemorations
BAHÁ’Í WORLD CENTRE — As centenary commemorations encircled the globe on Saturday, thoughts and hearts worldwide converged on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. People in country after country, as though by a continuous thread, were connected in their love and immeasurable admiration for one Whom they turn to as the perfect example of love for humankind and of selfless service to society.
Countless people from diverse backgrounds and faiths in every land have been reflecting on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words and hearing stories from His life, contemplating the implications of His call for universal peace for their own lives.
As gatherings being held in honor of this historic occasion continue, the images below provide a tiny glimpse of the unnumbered endeavors across and within the countries of the world over the past week.
Screenings of Exemplar, a film commissioned by the Universal House of Justice to mark the centenary commemoration of the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in Algeria.
Many centenary gatherings were held across Australia. Pictured here are just a few of the events that took place honoring ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
An article in a newspaper in Australia about a local centenary gathering.
An exhibition about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Bahrain, which includes artwork inspired by His writings.
An outdoor screening of Exemplar in Bahrain.
A children’s festival held in honor of the centenary in Bahrain.
Artistic works created in Bolivia in honor of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. On the right is a painting created by children in a local community reflecting the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá about the oneness of humanity, likening all people to “the leaves of one tree.” On the left is an embroidery based on the design of the trellis of the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which is currently under construction.
Participants at a gathering in Brazil reading passages about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and creating music inspired by their discussions.
Screenings of Exemplar in different places throughout Brazil.
Children and youth participating in a centenary program in Burkina Faso.
Seen here is a centenary gathering in Burundi.
Gatherings across Cambodia commemorating the centenary.
Journalists from nearly 40 media outlets gathered at a press conference held by the Bahá’í Office of External Affairs in Cameroon on the occasion of the centenary.
A news article about the centenary, published online by one of the media outlets in attendance at the press conference hosted by the Bahá’í Office of External Affairs in Cameroon.
Government officials and religious leaders attending a reception hosted by the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly of Canada at the former home of May and William Sutherland Maxwell, where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stayed for four days during His visit to Montreal, Canada.
Seen here are images from various centenary gatherings across Canada, which included musical performances and arts activities for children based on themes addressed in ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s writings, such as the oneness of humanity.
An exhibit in Canada on the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, His unique station in religious history, and how His ideas have contributed to the advancement of civilization.
Groups of people visiting a panel exhibit in the Canary Islands about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, His service to humanity, and His ceaseless efforts to promote the oneness of mankind.
An outdoor screening of Exemplar on the grounds of the Bahá’í House of Worship in Santiago, Chile. The House of Worship can be seen in the background of the photo on the left.
Seen here are centenary gatherings across Chile.
Centenary gatherings across Colombia included screenings of Exemplar, discussion gatherings, and devotional programs.
Seen here are participants at a centenary gathering in Costa Rica.
In Croatia, a group of friends inspired by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s spirit of generosity have been creating dolls that will be gifted to children at a nearby orphanage.
In Croatia, a public commemoration included a short introduction on the life and significance of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, a devotional program with prayers and writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and songs performed by children.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the centenary has been honored with a number of conferences on the theme of the equality of women and men, a topic addressed at length by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His talks and writings. Discussions at these gatherings have looked at the central role of the education of children in contributing to social progress.
Attendees at a centenary program in Lubumbashi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Seen here are traditional chiefs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo at two different gatherings commemorating the centenary. Other gatherings of chiefs also took place in other parts of the country.
Seen here is one of several TV broadcasts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo about centenary gatherings in the country.
A neighborhood commemoration gathering in Ecuador.
A short video featuring Egyptian Bahá’ís travelling to locations visited by ʻAbdu’l-Bahá in that country, telling stories about His time at these places.
A TV interview with a member of the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly of Ethiopia about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s example of ceaseless service to humanity.
Poems composed in Finnish that were inspired by reflections on the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
A gathering held in France to commemorate the centenary.
Pictured here are a few of the many centenary commemorations held across Germany. Children and youth played a prominent role in these gatherings, in which artistic presentations were made and talks given about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life. At the Bahá’í House of Worship near Frankfurt, area residents gathered around a bonfire to share stories about Him.
The mayor of Essen, Germany, speaking at a centenary gathering in that city.
At another commemoration in Germany, musical pieces were performed, and attendees visited a nearby exhibit about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
Screening of Exemplar in Greece.
Participants in the Bahá’í community-building activities in Galatsi, Greece, planting trees in collaboration with a local environmental organization.
A group of friends in Greenland at a centenary gathering watching Exemplar.
A sculpture made by an artist in Guam, Mariana Islands, inspired by the following passage from a talk given by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: “The reality of man is his thought.”
Seen here are attendees at a centenary gathering in Guam, Mariana Islands.
Children and youth at a gathering honoring the centenary held in Guinea-Bissau.
The President of Guyana, Irfaan Ali, receiving a book about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá from members of the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assembly of that country.
(Left) A devotional centenary gathering in Hong Kong at which children shared stories about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. (Right) A screening of Exemplar.
On the left is an image of an invitation shared at a university in Hong Kong welcoming students to a screening of Exemplar. Following the screening, attendees discussed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life of selfless service to humanity.
Seen here are just a few of the centenary gatherings held in Hong Kong.
Centenary gatherings in Manipur and Trimbakeshwar in India. The gathering in Trimbakeshwar spanned three days, bringing many families in the village together to commemorate the historic occasion.
A representative of a regional Bahá’í institution in India is welcomed home upon his return from the centenary gathering held in the Holy Land. The entire village assembled the next day to hear about the inspiring experience of the historic gathering.
Seen here are a few of the very many other centenary commemoration gatherings that were held across India.
Children and youth in Indonesia watch Exemplar.
Youth at a centenary gathering in Indonesia. The program included stories about the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and musical performances.
Many discussion gatherings about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life of service and screenings of Exemplar were held throughout Indonesia.
A group of friends in Tralee, Ireland, at the “Garden of Contemplation,” which was created in honor of the bicentenary of the Birth of Bahá’u’lláh in 2017.
A centenary gathering in Mantua, Italy, brought together government officials, the Bishop of Mantua, representatives of the region’s interfaith council, and journalists.
One of many centenary commemorations held in Jamaica.
In Japan, a group of friends gathered to plant trees in honor of the centenary.
A screening of Exemplar and a devotional program marking the centenary in a village in Jordan that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá visited on a number of occasions.
At another of the many gatherings in Jordan, Exemplar was screened, a special children’s program was held, and a gallery of images of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life were placed on display for viewing.
At a gathering in Kazakhstan, participants heard stories from the lives of the Central Figures of the Bahá’í Faith.
In honor of the centenary, an artist in Kazakhstan has prepared illustrations inspired from ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life.
Participants of Bahá’í community-building activities in a neighborhood in Mexico commemorating the centenary.
Seen here are gatherings in Mongolia of people sharing stories about the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
An article about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the Bahá’í Faith published in a local newspaper in Mongolia.
Different centenary gatherings of youth in Mongolia, including screenings of the film Exemplar.
This oil painting by an artist in Morocco depicts the design concept of the Shrine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá (bottom left), the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh (top left), and the Shrine of the Báb (top right).
An article about the significance of the historic occasion of the centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing published in a newspaper in Nepal.
People of all ages, backgrounds, and religions attending a centenary gathering in a prominent church in Rotterdam, Netherlands. The program included musical performances, prayers, stories, and an exhibit about the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
One of many centenary commemorations held in the Netherlands.
A centenary gathering in Utrecht, Netherlands.
Neighborhood centenary gatherings in Nicaragua.
A centenary gathering in Daga, Papua New Guinea.
An article published in a South African newspaper for the occasion of the centenary.
Seen here is a centenary gathering in South Korea held over video conferencing.
A centenary gathering in Spain included talks on the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and a performance by a local choir.
Participants at a gathering in Spain, where prayers and writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá were put to music.
People of all ages and backgrounds gathered at a commemoration event in Sweden. The program included music sung by children, devotions in different languages, art activities on the theme of generosity, and a screening of Exemplar.
A commemoration gathering in Switzerland.
A commemoration program in Taiwan included a screening of Exemplar, inspiring profound conversations on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s work as a champion of universal peace, the equality of women and men, and the elimination of prejudice.
In Tajikistan, commemoration gatherings included devotions, conversations about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s life of service, and screenings of Exemplar.
In Thailand, young people played a prominent role in preparations for the centenary gatherings.
In Timor-Leste, a centenary commemoration included artistic performances by children sharing stories from the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá inspired by His writings, including the following quotation: “In the world of existence there is indeed no greater power than the power of love.” A book of stories about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in English and Tetum was also published and shared with children at different centenary gatherings.
Participants at gatherings in Tunisia (bottom and top-right). A group of young friends created a drawing inspired by the qualities and attributes of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá such His humility and selflessness (top-left).
A screening of Exemplar in Tunisia. Participants discussed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s exemplary life after the screening (top).
Screenings of Exemplar in different communities throughout Tunisia.
As part of centenary commemorations and in keeping with local custom when a loved one passes away, a group of friends in Turkey prepared traditional pastries for their neighbors.
Musicians in Turkey recording musical pieces for centenary commemorations.
Journalists in Uganda covering the centenary commemorations. Pictured above are members of the Bahá’í community speaking with reporters about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
An exhibition at a community library in the United Kingdom on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s historic visit to that community.
In the United Kingdom, a TV program aired on the BBC retraces ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s steps on His trip to London, visiting sites where He gave public talks, such as the City Temple and the Church of St. John the Divine.
Seen here are a few of the very many centenary commemorations held across the United States.
Residents of a neighborhood in Minneapolis, United States, painting a mural about the beauty in the diversity of the community. The following passage from the writings of Bahá’u’lláh is written across the centre of the mural: “Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.”
Pictured here are a few other gatherings in the United States.
Centenary gatherings in Uzbekistan included screenings of Exemplar and children and youth chanting prayers and writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Seen bottom-right is a gathering featuring a musical performance.
Seen here is the airing of a radio program in Venezuela about the personage of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
In Venezuela, prayers composed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have been translated into Papiamento. Other published materials include a song about Him in that language.