At the start of the “ber months,” I find myself feeling that the year is almost over and I’m going to be another year older. Following are some random thoughts and trivia about birthday.
- A long time ago the celebration of birthday was limited to the royalty. Ordinary mortals like you and me were deemed not worthy to have birthday celebrations.
- The first birthday celebrations were pagan in nature. It was believed that on a person’s birthday he is susceptible to evil spirits so family and friends would gather around the birthday celebrator to protect him. They would give their happy thoughts and well wishes to ward off the evil spirits.
- The tradition of spanking, punching and pinching the celebrator, which a few still practice to this day, also originated as ways to cast the evil spirits away.
- The custom of lighting a birthday cake with candles began with the Greeks who worshipped Artemis, the goddess of the moon. That’s why the traditional shape of a birthday cake is round, to imitate the moon. The candles represent the moon’s glow.
- While some might feel that having a birthday cake with candles to blow is just a regular thing, I discovered how special this can make someone feel. Years ago, I had a co-worker who celebrated his birthday. We gave him a gift, sang a birthday song and asked him to blow his birthday cake candles. He shed some tears as he said, “Maraming salamat, alam n’yo first time lang akong magkaroon ng sariling birthday cake.” After this, I’ve always given my helpers at home a birthday cake with candles to blow and I always see a certain glow in their smile and thank you different from that when you just give them a wrapped gift or cash.
- The early Christians and Jews rejected the celebration of birthday as it was perceived as idolatrous. However, after the fourth century, birthday celebrations became acceptable primarily because the Romans, who are used to birthday celebrations, started to embrace Christianity. Why, they even assigned December 25 as the birthday of Jesus even if it was historically improbable for Him to have been born in the winter.
- According to US public records, there are more birthdays in September and October. This could be due to the holiday and the “longest nights” nine months prior.
- Birthdays bring extreme feelings to the celebrator. It may bring extreme happiness or depression. Either way you feel, you are better off being with others on your birthday.
- There is a tendency to be a bit self-centered on your birthday. You feel you deserve a bit of special privilege on this day and most of the time you get it. Try it, if you’re negotiating for something, say, “Sige na birthday ko naman ngayon e!” But it better be your birthday.
- I know someone who tells his son, “Why should we give you a gift on your birthday? You should give your mother a gift because on this day, she labored and gave birth to you!”
Whether you believe that birthdays should be celebrated or not, maybe you should use this as your assessment period. It’s a time to count our blessings, check your goals, pat yourself on the back for your accomplishments and thank everyone who has helped you in one way or another.
Now before I do my own assessment (by the way, today is my birthday) let me leave you with some quotes about birthday.
- “They say that age is all in your mind. The trick is keeping it from creeping down into your body.” – Author Unknown
- “Middle age is when your age starts to show around your middle.” – Bob Hope
- “The old believe everything; the middle aged suspect everything: the young know everything.” – Oscar Wilde
- “Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician.” – Author Unknown
- “The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” – Lucille Ball
- “Few women admit their age. Few men act theirs.” – Anon
- “A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.” – Robert Frost
- “There is no cure for birth and death save to enjoy the interval. – George Santayana
- “Nature gives you the face you have at twenty, but it’s up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.” – Coco Chanel
- “Your birthday is a special time to celebrate the gift of ‘you’ to the world.” – Author Unknown
Happy birthday to all September celebrators!