UN World Peace Day 2011, 21 September, Croatia
Eleven years ago the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 September the International Day of Peace, with the recommendation for all spiritual and religious groups, peace groups and individuals "to focus their awareness on the cessation of all violent conflicts around the world and to promote peaceful conduct during the twenty-four hours – with prayer, meditation or in other appropriate ways".
Already for the sixth year in a row, the Croatian Association of Yoga in Daily Life has responded to the invitation and joined a large number of associations from around the world, who observe this day in support of peace initiatives of the United Nations.
Each year on the 21st of September "Yoga in Daily Life" traditionally organizes multicultural programs, prayers for world peace and related lectures in all major Croatian cities. This year the World Peace Day was marked in seven Croatian cities.
In Zagreb the event began with a ceremony of lighting peace candles and group prayer for peace around the Peace Tree in the Vjekoslav Majer Park. The Peace Tree was planted there in 2005, by His Holiness Swamiji with local and international dignitaries, on the occasion of the World Peace Summit – which took place in Zagreb as the first ever peace summit held in the modern Republic of Croatia.
In Split, the Day of World Peace was marked at the Olive Tree of Peace, on the green lawn in front of the Golden Gate of Diocletian's palace. The gathering brought together both citizens and tourists, who were also entertained and encouraged by the performance of several musicians. Citizens of Split and their guests made prayers, each in their own religious and spiritual tradition, and symbolically lit a candle for world peace.
People in Cakovec gathered in the park of Zrinski, with candles, prayers and good wishes for peace. In Umag the Day of Peace was observed, together with representatives from the Mayor's Office, by people from almost the whole of Istria, with guests from Labin, Rovinj, Porec, Pula and Rijeka. In the other cities or towns where "Yoga in Daily Life" is located, the Day of Peace was marked in the ashrams and premises of local associations.
In addition to events in parks across Croatia, teachers of "Yoga in Daily Life" have dedicated part of their classes designed for exercises to lectures about the importance of peace as an idea in humans, in their closer and wider surroundings, ultimately resulting in global peace. From the point of spirituality, yoga teaches individuals the skill of how to find peace first of all within themself and then how to convey that peace to their surroundings.
It is our pleasure to emphasize that this year's celebration of the International Day of Peace also represents observing a decade of active peacekeeping activities of "Yoga in Daily Life" in Croatia, as testified by the planting and growth of Peace Trees in Zagreb, Cakovec, Split and since last year in Umag.
We remember that on 21st September 2001 in Umag, Croatia, the first prayer for peace was held, when more than a thousand participants, distinguished guests and representatives of spiritual life of Croatia lit candles and sent their prayers for peace by the seaside.