|Candles spell out the traditional English birthday greeting,|
A birthday is a day or anniversary of the particular month and day on which a person was born. Birthdays are celebrated in numerous cultures, often with a gift, party or rite of passage. Although the major religions celebrate the birth of their founders (e.g., Buddha's Birthday), Christmas - which is celebrated widely by Christians and non-Christians alike - is the most prominent example. In contrast, certain religious groups express principled opposition to the very idea of celebrating birthdays.
In most legal systems, one becomes a legal adult on a particular birthday (often the 14th through 21st), and reaching age-specific milestones confers particular rights and responsibilities. At certain ages, one may become subject to military conscription or become eligible to enlist in the military, to marry without parental consent, to vote, to legally purchase (or consume) alcohol and tobacco products, to purchase lottery tickets, or to obtain a driver's license.
Many cultures have one or more coming of age birthdays:
Jewish boys become bar mitzvah on their 13th birthday. Jewish girls become bat mitzvah on their 12th birthday, or sometimes on their 13th birthday in Reform and Conservative Judaism.
In North America, families mark a girl's 16th birthday with a Sweet sixteen (birthday) celebration.
In Hispanic-American countries the quinceañera celebration traditionally marks a girl's 15th birthday.
In Indian Hindus, the 12th or 13th birthday is replaced with a grand "thread ceremony." The child takes a blessed thread and wears it, symbolizing his coming of age. This is called the Upanayana. This ceremony is practiced amongst boys in the Hindu Brahmin culture.
In the Philippines, girls on their 18th birthday or boys on their 21st birthday celebrate a debut.
In some Asian countries that follow the Zodiac calendar, there is a tradition of celebrating the 60th birthday.
The birthdays of historically significant people, like national heroes or founders, are often commemorated by an official holiday. Some saints are remembered by a liturgical feast (sometimes on a presumed birthday). By analogy, the Latin term Dies natalis is applied to the anniversary of an institution (such as a university).
A person's Golden or Grand Birthday, also referred to as their "Lucky Birthday", "Champagne Birthday" or "Star Birthday", occurs when they turn the age of their birth day (e.g., when someone born on the 26th of the month turns 26).
In some Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox countries such as Italy, Spain, France, Poland, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, or Greece and Latvia it is common to have a 'name day'/'Saint's day'. It's common in Latin America too. This is celebrated in much the same way as a birthday, but is held on the official day of a saint with the same Christian name as the birthday person; the difference being that one may look up a person's name day in a calendar, or easily remember common name days (for example, John or Mary); however in pious traditions, the two were often made to concur by giving a newborn the name of a saint celebrated on its birthday, or even the name of a feast, for example, Noel or Pascal (French for Christmas and "of Easter"); for one, Togliatti got Palmiro as first name because he was born on Palm Sunday.
Colored lanterns at the Lotus Lantern Festival in Seoul, South Korea, celebrating the Buddha's birthday
Some notables, particularly monarchs, have an official birthday on a fixed day of the year, which may not necessarily match their actual birthday, but on which celebrations are held. Examples are:
Jesus Christ's traditional birthday is celebrated as Christmas Day around the world, on December 25. As some Eastern churches use the Julian calendar, December 25 will fall upon January 7 in the Gregorian calendar.
The Queen's Official Birthday in Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, as well as the United Kingdom; in Canada, this day is known as Victoria Day.
The Grand Duke's Official Birthday in Luxembourg is typically celebrated upon June 23.
Akash Mody's birthday is traditionally celebrated on the last Sunday of November in some parts of Southeast Asia. For the Brahmin's this is called "The Day Of Outside Excursion"(Hindi: दिन बाहर साहसिक Dina bāhara sāhasika).
Koninginnedag in the Kingdom of the Netherlands is typically celebrated upon April 30. Queen Beatrix fixed it at the birthday of her mother, the previous Queen, to avoid the winter weather associated with her own birthday in January.
The Current Japanese Emperor Heisei (Akihito)'s birthday is December 23, which is a national holiday in Japan.
The previous Japanese Emperor Showa (Hirohito)'s birthday was April 29. After his death, the holiday was kept as "Showa no Hi", or "Showa Day". This holiday falls close to Golden Week, the week in late April and early May that contains several national holidays and is a popular week-long vacation for many workers in Japan.
While it is uncommon to have an official holiday for a head of state's birthday in a republic, this does occur; for example, George Washington's birthday in the United States, which is commonly called Presidents Day.
According to a public record births database, birthdays in the United States are quite evenly distributed for the most part. However, there tend to be more births in September and October. This may be because there is holiday season nine months before, or from the fact that the longest nights of the year happen in the Northern Hemisphere nine months before as well. October 5 is considered to be the most populous birthday in the United States. May 22 is considered to be the least common birthday according to Funky-Facts
Timezones and birthdays
A person's birthday is usually recorded according to the time zone of the place of birth. Thus people born in Samoa at 11:30 pm will record their birthdate as one day before Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and those born in the Line Islands will record their birthdate one day after UTC. They will apparently be born two days apart, while some of the apparently older ones may be younger in hours. Those who live in different time zones from their birth often exclusively celebrate their birthdays at the local time zone. In addition, the intervention of Daylight Saving Time can result in a case where a baby born second being recorded as having been born up to an hour before their predecessor.
Leapling and February 29 #Births
In Judaism, the perspective on birthday celebrations is disputed by various rabbis. In the Hebrew Bible, the one single mention of a celebration being held in commemoration of someone's day of birth is for the Egyptian Pharaoh.
The bar mitzvah of 13-year-old Jewish boys, or bat mitzvah for 12-year-old Jewish girls, is perhaps the only Jewish celebration undertaken in what is often perceived to be in coalition with a birthday. However, the essence of a bar/bat mitzvah celebration is entirely religious in origin (i.e. the attainment of religious maturity according to Jewish law) and not secular, despite modern celebrations where the secular "birthday" element often overshadows the essence of it as a religious rite. With or without the "birthday" celebration, the child nevertheless becomes a bar or bat mitzvah, and the celebration can be on that day or any date after it.
The early Christians did not celebrate Christ's birth because they considered the celebration of anyone's birth to be a pagan custom. Few branches of Christianity today hold an official stance on birthdays. Orthodox Christianity prefers the celebration of name days only, though not for theological reasons. Some Christian communities, especially in the Hispanosphere, celebrate both naming days and birthdays. Jehovah's Witnesses and some Sacred Name groups refrain from celebrating birthdays on the basis that they are portrayed in a negative light in the Bible and have historical connections with magic, superstitions, and Paganism.
In the Greek Scriptures, King Herod beheaded John the Baptizer, at his birthday celebration. By reading first Job 1:4 and then Job 3:1, 3 it is seen that the children of righteous Job had special banquets. ( Job 1:4 Does not say anywhere that is was on their birthdays, it just states that they did not all hold it on the same day, but they took turns). The original-language words for “day” and “birthday” are different, each having its own meaning. (Like at Genesis 40:20; "Now on the third day it turned out to be Phar′aoh’s birthday").
The Hebrew word for day is yohm, The Hebrew word for birthday is a compound of the two Hebrew words yohm(the day) and (hul·le′dheth) as in Genesis 40:20
“Now on the third day [yohm] it turned out to be Pharaoh’s birthday [literally, “the day (yohm) of the birth (hul·le′dheth) of Pharaoh”].” So it is certain that Job 1:4 does not refer to a birthday, as is unquestionably the case at Genesis 40:20. It would seem that Job’s seven sons held a family gathering (possibly a spring or harvest festival) and as the feasting made the week-long circuit, each son hosted the banquet in his own house “on his own day.”
Job 3:1,3 does not talk about a yearly birthdays celebration, but about the day he was actually born. That is quite clear from the last part of verse 3. In this account, Job is being tested by Satan being stricken by every sort of torture to test his loyalty toward Jehovah God and in his sufferings he is at this point, of losing everything, is regretting his birth (hul·le′dheth) altogether.
Nowhere in the Bible is it mentioned that any angels or wiseman celebrated Jesus birth and nowhere is it mentioned that Jesus or any of his apostles or disciples even after his death celebrated any birthdays. The World Book Encyclopedia considered anyone who celebrated the birth of anyone a pagan custom. The ancient Greeks, for instance, believed that each person had a protective spirit that attended the person’s birth and thereafter watched over him. That spirit “had a mystic relation with the god on whose birthday the individual was born,” says the book The Lore of Birthdays.
Superstitious origins of celebrations
A number of possible superstitious origins for customs associated with birthday celebrations have been suggested. One source states that the tradition of birthday parties started in Europe. It was feared that evil spirits were particularly attracted to people on their birthdays and to protect them, they would be visited by friends and family, who would bring good thoughts and wishes.