While Canada is predominantly a Christian country, many religions of the world are worshiped within its borders and by its millions of visitors. To that extend, the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights is proud to partner with religious and community organizations to create displays symbolic to the Christian, Judaic and Islamic faiths. The Religions of the World illuminations pay homage to Christian, Judaic and Islamic religious traditions.
Sponsored by the Niagara Catholic District School Board & Roman Catholic Diocese
The Nativity Scene takes its inspiration from the accounts of the birth of Jesus as described in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Luke’s narrative describes an angel announcing the birth of Jesus to shepherds who then visit the humble site where Jesus is found lying in a manger. Saint Francis of Assisi is credited with creating the first nativity scenein 1223 at Greccio, Italy intending to cultivate the worship of Christ, having been inspired by his visit to the Holy Land where he had been shown Jesus’s traditional birthplace. Today, distinctive nativity scenes and traditions have been created around the world and are displayed during the Christmas season.
Sponsored by Henry & Bella Muller
The Menorah display is symbolic to Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, which occurs during the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights. In Hebrew, the word “hanukkah” means “dedication” reminding us that the holiday commemorates the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Jewish festival of lights is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique nine-branched Menorah.
Sponsored by the Ahlul Bayt Assembly & Hamdani Foundation
Every year, millions of Muslims make a religious pilgrimage to Mecca on the last month of the Muslim year. This journey, called the Hajj, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. While the dates for the Hajj change from year to year, it always occurs during the Festival time period.
Other religious displays found within the Niagara Parks Winter Wonderland include Journey to Bethlehem, an illumination depicting Mary and Joseph’s trek to Bethlehem, located in front of Christ Church (corner of Niagara Parkway and Zimmerman Ave.) and a stylized Noah’s Ark featuring Canadian animals like grizzly bears and moose, which is located within Dufferin Islands.
Next year, we hope to include a Diwali display as part of the Religions of the World area. Popularly known as the Hindu “festival of lights” Diwali is a five-day festival which generally occurs during the Ontario Power Generation Winter Festival of Lights time period. For Hindus, Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year and is celebrated in families by performing traditional activities together in their homes. Diwali, which translates into “row of lamps”, involves the lighting of small clay lamps filled with oil to signify the triumph of good over evil.