Birthdays are, in most countries, celebrated by going all out and marking the occasion of someone’s birth date for every year that they are born. Every person celebrates differently depending on where they live and what their religion is as well as how old they are. Babies clearly haven’t a clue it’s their first, second, third birthday and are just glad of the cake and new toys whilst older people tend not to make too much of a fuss and after eighty odd birthdays they may not want to be reminded!
Someone who is Jewish will celebrate a ‘Bar Mitzvah’ on their thirteenth birthday to welcome them into their community as an adult who will be expected to obey all of the same commandments as their fellow adults. Eighteen year old girls in the Philippines and twenty one year old boys will celebrate their ‘Debut’ in the same way sixteen year old girls in America will celebrate their ‘Sweet Sixteen’ with a big party. In Japan if you have turned twenty there is a ‘Coming of Age Day’ whereas in the UK the eighteenth and twenty first birthdays of a girl or boy are considered the important years (possibly due to the fact drinking alcohol becomes legal in both the UK and USA!) Also in the UK if a person reaches their 100th birthday they will have a card sent from the Queen congratulating them on reaching such a milestone age.
However a birthday is celebrated there is nearly always a party involved whether it’s you by yourself propping up the bar in a birthday hat or a whole crowd of you on a mini bus into town. There is usually a cake decorated in the same number of candles as the person’s age before the birthday girl or boy makes a wish and blows them out. Usually presents and cards are given from friends and family or meaningful gifts are passed down through generations such as wedding rings or watches. In India male and female Hindu’s have a ‘Thread Ceremony’ instead of their twelfth or thirteenth birthday where they are given a blessed thread to symbolise their coming of age.
The biggest birthday we celebrate around the world is Christ’s birthday known as ‘Christmas’. Many people attend Mass or go to church around Christmas time to sing hymns as well as watching performances of the traditional Christian story of his birth known as ‘The Nativity Play’.
However you choose to celebrate a birthday make sure it is filled with loved ones and take plenty of pictures to look back on because you never know, you may reach one hundred someday and need to be reminded of a few memories.
Esther Charles is an event planner who writes on behalf of balloon-o-gram.co.uk
Photo source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rabble/3461669736/