A 200-candle cake for peacemaker

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It’s a big deal to celebrate the 200th birthday of anyone, let alone someone who founded a faith devoted to worldwide unity.

Today, members of the Bahá’í community are coming together to hold a special event to honour the birth of Bahá’u’lláh

The gala event takes place tonight at the St. Albert Community Hall. Attendance is free.

“Bahá’ís all over the world are doing this,” Behrooz Tahririha, one of the community’s representatives, adding a touch of humour. “The bicentennial… it doesn’t happen very often.”

The Bahá’í faith describes itself as an independent world religion that was founded by Bahá’u’lláh in 1863, basing the faith on the teachings of the oneness of humanity, God and all religions by the prophet known as The Báb. The Bahá’í consider him to be the most recent in a series of Messengers of God that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad.

Today, the Bahá’í are concerned with many social justice issues and are well-known in St. Albert for promoting International Women’s Day with awards that are given to local women who have made great contributions to the community.

“Bahá’í teachings are anti-polarization, even in religious and social and economic and all of these arenas of life,” he said.

“We are pro-unity,” his wife, Elaine Tahririha added. “He declared that men and women were equal, and that it wasn’t unless the equality between men and women would be established that we could even know world peace.”

That’s part of the reason why all of the community is invited to tonight’s event. For more than 40 years, the local Bahá’í have been working to bring people together. It’s free to attend and will include food and music by Gordi Munro and Neda Yamach, who is a violinist with the Alberta Baroque Ensemble. There will also be a ballet performance and a group of Persian players, to pay tribute to the honoree’s birthplace. There will also be prayers offered in several languages to make it as inclusive to diverse attendees as possible.

A special video on the Bahá’u’lláh will be screened too.

“A lot of people don’t even know [Bahá’u’lláh] he was, when he came, what he did, what his message was. It’s to teach us about who he was and why this is such an important birthday celebration,” Elaine added.

For more information about the Baha’i Faith or Baha’i events and activities in St. Albert please call 780-460-8408 or visit www.stalbertbahai.org.

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Scott Hayes

Scott Hayes joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2008. Scott writes about the arts, entertainment, movies, culture, community groups, and charities. He also writes general news, features, columns and profiles on people.