World Religion Day

World Religion Day is a holiday designed to celebrate the commonality enjoyed by all religions around the world. Currently, there are over 4,300 recognized religions. These religions are observed in temples, churches, tribal events, and congregations in many different ways. This day is one on which people should look for the ways their religion is similar to other religions, instead of looking for differences that divide us. It’s a holiday that many people should observe on the third Sunday in January. After all, if more people celebrated the things that bring us together instead of concentrating on the things that divide us, then this world would have a lot less conflict.

The History of World Religion Day

World Religion Day is a holiday that’s often traced back to an observation celebrated in Portland, Maine, called World Peace Through Religion Day in 1947. This holiday was standardized by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís in the U.S. starting in 1949. The next year, World Religion Day was celebrated in two Australian cities, and in 1951, it was celebrated in Bolivia. From that point on, the holiday continued to spread and is now celebrated all over the world.

Fun Facts About Religion

Since the whole purpose of this holiday is for religion to be used to bring people together instead of dividing them, we thought we’d take a few moments and talk about some of the facts we’ve learned about world religions as we intensely researched World Religion Day.

  • Although there are over 4,300 religions, most religious people in the world observe one of the five major religions.
  • The five major world religions are Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism.
  • There are approximately 2.2 billion Christians, 1.8 billion Muslims, 1.09 billion Hindus, and 500 million Buddhists in the world.
  • Over 1.1 billion people in the world identify as atheists or agnostics.
  • It’s been estimated that by 2050, 40% of all Christians in the world will live in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • In Latin America, there are over 425 million Catholics. That’s 40% of the world’s total Catholic population.
  • In 2015, religious groups in over 100 countries experienced widespread government harassment.
  • Approximately 83% of women around the world identify with a particular religious group or faith.
  • Only about 80% of men in the world identify with a particular religious group or faith.

Observing World Religion Day

World Religion Day can be observed by taking the time to learn about other religions and to think about the things that your religion has in common with these other religions. It’s a good day to attend an interfaith service, to take the time to talk to someone of a different religion, or to introduce your children to different faiths. While observing this holiday, be sure to use the hashtag #WorldReligionDay to spread the word about this holiday.

When is it?
This year (2024)
January 21 Sunday
Next year (2025)
January 19 Sunday
Last year (2023)
January 15 Sunday
Culture & History