What are Birthdays?
Cakes, balloons, and candles are all visible when it is time to celebrate the birth of a loved one or a family member.
The word ‘Birthday’ is the day when a person is born. What makes birthdays so unique is the way they are held in esteem.
But here is the question, why are birthdays celebrated?
Why are Birthdays so Special?
Birthdays are one type of anniversary, just like wedding anniversaries, for instance. Celebrating them is a way of appreciating the person’s birth for existing in this world and for the role they have played in your life. It is one way of commemorating a person, so birthdays are taken as the individual’s special day. They remind us of how we are growing older from childhood to puberty to adulthood. The changes that we experienced physically, mentally, and emotionally in the past 365 days. They are also considered as a way of marking your progress in this world.
Not to mention with Zodiac signs and Horoscopes, the idea of birthdays becomes even more special. This is because, in horoscopes, the stars and planets were aligned in a particular position during the time of your birth. This positioning of planetary objects and stars tells a great deal about your personality.
In the Chinese calendar, based on your birth year, you even get assigned an animal, for instance, those born in the years 2003 and 2015 are assigned the animal goat. This makes the year and the birthday special allowing a mystical feel to it.
So how did birthdays become so popular?
Origins of Celebrating a Birthday
Believe it or not, the idea of celebrating a person’s birth is considered a pagan tradition. For those unfamiliar with the word pagan, you should know that they are believed in folklore as false gods. The pagans believed that by celebrating birthdays, one gets rid of evil spirits that lurk all the important dates of the year when some major event occurs, similar to how Halloween originated. For Greeks, the birthday originated from ancient Greece, where Greeks believed that a spirit attended each person’s birth.
So, in other words, birthdays began to protect the newborn baby and the people from getting harmed by evil spirits. This also explains why candles are lit on a birthday because it comes from lighting up a flame to protect oneself from the evil represented by the darkness.
But if it comes to who invented birthday celebrations, then that credit would go to the Greeks. Why may you wonder? The reason is simple; the Greeks celebrated birthdays through offering and grand gestures for their gods and goddesses in what is now considered Greek mythology. However, it was Romans that introduced this practice of celebrating birthdays to a common man and woman.
What are the Staple Things People Like to Have to Celebrate Birthdays?
Modern birthdays of the 21st century always include the four basic components:
- Balloons(Amazon ASIN #B089R19D5Z)
- Party poppers(Amazon ASIN #B08DJ9LV3G)
- Candles(Amazon ASIN #B07TK4XQG1)
There you have it, all the essential ingredients to throw someone a birthday surprise.
This reminds us to open up about the concept of a ‘birthday surprise’ developed in the 21st century. Birthdays are usually celebrated by a person’s friends or family, springing a party on them. So if you ever participated in throwing a birthday surprise or were subjected to one, then you would be familiar with how it feels.
When it comes to cakes, people opt to buy cake/brownies/cupcakes directly from supermarkets or buy cake online (Amazon ASIN #B000UV70FW); some even prefer to customize cakes/cupcakes as a special birthday present for their loved ones. If the cake doesn’t have any ‘happy birthday’ written on it with cake icing, you can top it with a ‘Happy Birthday’ topper (Amazon ASIN #B08BL4Y9KM).
As for birthday presents, that usually depends on what you believe is a great gift, it doesn’t have to be a birthday cake or a gift, the intention and gesture matter more to the birthday boy or girl than what is in the present.
Cultural Implications Associated with Birthdays
Within Western countries, the 16th birthday of a girl or a female member of the house is given a special celebration termed ‘sweet 16’, which is also depicted in many pop culture references. A similar version exists in the Philippines, which is considered America’s version of a coming-of-age celebration. This occurs for female individuals on their 18th birthday and makes members on the 21st birthday. Whereas in Japan it is celebrated on the 20th birthday of every individual.
Surprisingly shaving of head hair is associated in Southeast Asian countries such as Nepal and India on a newborn’s first birthday. It is believed that by shaving the head on the 1st birthday, a baby is cleansed from the evil clings.
Our Final Thoughts
Birthdays are a special moment to bond with relatives and friends. It brings the whole social circle together. So it is a blessing in disguise that what started as a ritual of protection from evil has become one of the most celebrated occasions of the year.
So if you have any person whose birth date is near, try getting them a gift or throwing a surprise to cheer them up!