Tits n' Bits of Birthday Celebrations
It is assumed that carousing Birthdays in Europe commenced with the originally Iranian cult of Mithras in Roman Empire. It was very rare during the middle ages but with the advent of reformation it was resurrected.
A happy Birthday song is conventionally sung to accolade the person celebrating his birthday. The carnival is followed by the blowing out of candles and then slicing the highly decorated birthday cake. The rite of blowing out of candles has got a significance which is believed by most people. It is a means of wish fulfillment. If all the candles can be blown out with one breath then the wish is believed to come true. The birthday cake is very nicely decorated and it is garlanded with lit candles. The singing of birthday song can be performed at any place, even in restaurants at the delivery of the dessert or the very special birthday cake.
Numeral candles are also used where the number of candles may prove to be a fire hazard. Numeral candles means the shape of the candle will be numeral, for e. g. if the person’s age is fifty then instead of lighting fifty candles only a numeral 5 followed by a numeral 0 will be placed on the cake.
On Birthday, the honored person gets a hug, a call or letters from his friends and family. Kids usually enjoy this special day by playing games such as Pin the Tail on the Donkey, Musical Chairs and hitting Piñatas. Adults prefer to celebrate their birthday privately in some restaurants by having a dinner with their friends.
A tradition of Surprise Parties is also popular. The Birthday boy or the Birthday girl receives no greetings from his/her family at the beginning of the day because a surprise party has been organized to delight the honored person.
There is also a practice of treating friends and that is not always compensated by gifts. Another custom which was commonly practiced by the girls in 1950’s and 60’s in their school days was receiving of a bouquet of flower, ornamented with inexpensive gifts such as candies, lollipops, bubble gums, sugar cubes, lemon drops and many more on their Birthday depending on their age.
Birthday bumps are also eminent; here the Birthday boy/ girl is lifted on air by his/ her friends and family and then placed on the ground lightly so that they don’t get hurt. The number of bumps equals the age that the honored person reaches on his Birthday. ‘Birthday beats’ and ‘Birthday bashes’ are also practiced on this day which is similar to the Birthday bumps, that is the Birthday person gets a number of friendly thumps on his arm or back corresponding to the age he has reached.
Birthdays are celebrated specially on notable ages such as 1st, 10th, 20th, 30th, 40th, 50th, and so on. One’s golden Birthday is also called as one’s Champagne Birthday, this happens when one’s age coincides with his date of birth, for e. g, if the age of the Birthday guy turns 30 on his date of birth, supposedly 30th of may then it is celebrated as his golden Birthday.
Many girls in the United States have sweet sixteen birthday parties. In Latin America, the 15th Birthday of a girl is a marked one and is traditionally celebrated.
The Birthdays of historically significant people such as Jesus Christ or Prophet Muhammad are usually commemorated as official holidays followed by celebrations in religious places and at people’s home. Some notables, particularly Monarchs, on a fixed day of the year celebrate his Birthday which does not match their actual date of birth yet celebrations are held on that day. Examples such as King or Queen’s Birthday in U.K under British crown; Commonwealth Day, originally called Empire’s Day is on the Queen Empress Victoria’s Birthday held on May 24; in Luxemburg the national holiday is on June 23. These are some of the well known Birthdays nationwide.
Symbolical Birthday gifts are very illustrious which includes various stones depending on the honored person’s zodiac. It is supposed to have originated from Biblical times. The statistics is as follows: January – garnet, February- amethyst, March- aquamarine or bloodstone, April- diamond, May- emerald, June- pearl or moonstone or alexandrite, July- ruby, August- peridot or sardonyx or sapphire, September- sapphire, October- tourmaline or opal, November- yellow topaz or satrine and December- zircon, turquoise or lapis lazuli, blue topaz.
This list is officially adopted by the American National association of jewelers in 1912 and it is currently the most widely used list in the United States and in many other places including Australia and Thailand.Author: Sean Carter