World Holy Name Week (WHNW), first established in 2008, has seen its biggest success so far this year.
In 2013, around forty-three different ISKCON centers celebrated the week in some capacity with events designed to share, spread and become absorbed in the Holy Name of God.
This year, WHNW organizers have already received reports from over fifty ISKCON centers from every continent in the world.
“And we expect much more to come,” says Global Communications Secretary Divyanam Das. “This year we’ve really seen many more Holy Name events and much more enthusiasm and excitement from devotees all over the world.”
Events held between September 5th and 15th included Harinams in schools and colleges, where thousands of students were introduced to the chanting of the Holy Names; interfaith dialogue about the Holy Names of God with other traditions; sixty-four round japathons; Maha Nagar Sankirtans featuring hundreds of devotees chanting in the streets, and 24- or 12-hour nonstop kirtans.
There were also daily Nagar Sankirtans for the full ten days of World Holy Name Week, and seminars, educational courses, skits, dramas and quizzes on the Holy Names.
As usual, India was the most enthusiastic participant, with twenty-seven different ISKCON centers in the country putting on WHNW events.
But the participation amped up in other countries too this year, with many noteworthy events around the world.
In Kiev, Ukraine, devotees took part in a Holy Name Retreat to counteract the effects of the war there.
In Boston, USA, devotees chanted at a marijuana rally, wearing “Stay High Forever” t-shirts and encouraging people to find happiness through chanting rather than herbs.
They also conducted a Harinam and Pushpanjali flower ceremony at Commonwealth Pier, where ISKCON founder Srila Prabhupada first arrived in the US with his message of the Holy Name in 1965.
Russia’s largest vaishnava festival, the Sadhu-Sanga retreat, was dedicated to the chanting of the Holy Name.
And in the Eastern European country of Moldova, Indradyumna Swami held several Harinamas and two large public programs, as well as meeting with a number of distinguished personalities and being interviewed about the Holy Name for several television shows.
The wide variety of other participating countries included Nigeria, Brazil, Israel, Greece, Bali, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, England, Scotland and Canada.
“The increased participation is a direct reflection of increased awareness of World Holy Name Week amongst devotee communities,” says Divyanam. “Social media and online publicity played a crucial role in this effort. So did the fact that many ISKCON leaders and sannyasis were involved in the campaign this year.”
Organizers like Divyanam feel that WHNW is an extremely important event, and encourage a joint effort amongst devotees around the world for future years.
“During WHNW, thousands of devotees reinvigorated their own relationship with Sri Naam Prabhu (the Holy Name) and introduced thousands of souls to the Hare Krishna mantra,” he says.
He adds, “The vision is to establish WHNW as an internationally recognized event, which will attract the attention of the masses and bring people closer to the Holy Names. This will also glorify and establish Srila Prabhupada as a global ambassador of the Holy Names of God.”
In 2016, the World Holy Name Week team is planning a particularly grand celebration to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Srila Prabhupada’s establishing ISKCON, and thus bringing the Holy Names of Krishna to the Western world.
“For that, a grand promotion and campaign will be required,” says Divyanam. “And we request everyone to please participate whole-heartedly!”
For full reports and hundreds of photos of World Holy Name Week celebrations around the world, please visit http://www.worldholynameweek.com/.
Organizers request temples who haven’t yet shared reports and photos from their center to please send them to email@example.com.[ hare-krishna ] [ harinama ] [ holy ] [ holy-name ] [ kirtana ] [ krishna ] [ sankirtana ]