Birthdays

What Is A Birthday?

Birthdays are celebrated all over the world but just what
is a birthday? Birthdays are the day most people in many
cultures celebrate the anniversary of their birth.

Most people mark this special day with a party and gifts
are given. These gifts are sometimes known as a rite of
passage during special milestone birthdays.

During birthday parties one of the most popular traditions
is the birthday cake. Typically ornately decorated and lit
with candles that the birthday person gets to make a silent
wish on then blow out.

The number of candles on the cake coincides with the age of
the person blowing the candles out. Sometimes when the
number of candles is too great, people use special number
candles readily available.

Also it is a common tradition for the birthday person to
cut and receive the first piece of cake.

On someone’s birthday, they are supposed to receive special
treatment from family and friends. This includes, gift
giving, special meals or dining out.

Children’s birthdays usually include games and sometimes
special entertainment like a clown or magician. Parties can
include balloons, streamers and party favors for guests.

Special gifts for birthdays sometimes include the giving of
a birthstone. This is a precious stone that goes with the
month of birth.

Birthstones seem to originate from biblical times. There is
also a list of birth flowers. Like the stones, this lists
flowers that match the month of birth. It is considered to
be very good luck to receive your birth flower on your
birthday with the number of blooms matching your age.

Unconventional Birthdays

Though commonly known to celebrate the wonderful day we
came into existence, it is not the only reason we celebrate
birthdays. There are lots of unconventional birthdays that
are celebrated throughout the world. Actually, the number
of reasons to celebrate unconventional birthdays is
infinite.

People use the term -Birthday- to describe milestones in
their lives. The term is also used to mark important
beginnings or ends in a person’s life.

Recovery group’s use the term Birthday to mark the day a
person has entered into the 12-step recovery program and
quit drug or alcohol abuse.

This day is marked every year with a -birthday chip-, a
token to remind you of the hard work done to get through
that year and the long road still ahead of you.

Another term using birthday is -Birthday Suit-. There is
almost no need for explanation, but for those few who don’t
know what a birthday suit is, it is the wearing of nothing.

On the day of your birth, you came out of the womb naked
therefore being in your -birthday suit- you are naked.

The term birthday can also be used for when something is
created. Typically the year, month and date are used when
describing the birthday of an entity. Businesses often have
a birthday to celebrate. That is usually the day the
company was created.

So not only do we as people celebrate the day we were
brought into this world, but we like to celebrate the day
of creation for the world around us.

The Queen’s Birthday

The US is not the only country that celebrates the
birthdays of the most famous people in our society.

One of the grandest birthday celebrations is the Queen’s
Official Birthday, also known simply as the Queen’s
Birthday. It is a holiday that is celebrated in several
Commonwealth countries. It is also now celebrated in Fiji,
which is now a republic.

When appropriate the word Queen is replaced with King, and
the actual date varies from country to country, but it
usually doesn’t mark the actual birthday of the King or
Queen.

Currently in the UK, the Queen’s birthday is celebrated the
first, second, or third Saturday in June. The birthday is
marked with the Trooping the Colour, also known as the
Queen’s Birthday Parade.

The Trooping the Colour is a military ceremony performed by
the British Army. The Queen or King is typically in the
parade also, and Queen Elizabeth II rode horseback to the
Trooping the Colour until 1987 when she began traveling in
a phaeton.

The Queen’s Birthday has been celebrated annually in this
matter since 1820, except in periods of mourning, in bad
weather or other exceptional circumstances.

In face, Edward the VII moved the date to June because it
is generally the best weather in Britain.

In Australia, the Queen’s birthday is on the second Monday
in June and is celebrated as a public holiday. It also
marks the opening of Australia’s snow season.

In Canada, Victoria Day, which is their name for the
Queen’s birthday, is celebrated the Monday on or before May
24, though there are some who acknowledge that it is to
celebrate Queen Victoria and not the current Queen. It also
marks the beginning of Canadian Summer.

Presidents Birthdays Celebrated

Not all birthdays are celebrated by the whole country, but
in the instance of celebrating the birth of our Presidents,
we not only get to celebrate, but lets face it, it is
always fun to have a day off work.

The day our Presidents birthdays are celebrated is a
National holiday. But it has not always been celebrated at
the same time.

On the third Monday in February, we take time to celebrate
the birthdays of some former Presidents. Originally though
the Presidents birthdays were celebrated separately.

February 22 is George Washington’s actual birthday and the
holiday we know now, as Presidents day was actually to
celebrate his birthday.

Lincoln’s birthday was celebrated at a different time,
although his birthday is actually February 12. Lincoln’s
birthday was never a federal holiday like Washington’s.

The late 1980’s is when the term Presidents Day began its
appearance with a push from advertisers. Now, Presidents
Day is to honor both Washington and Lincoln and often other
Presidents of the United States. But it is not the same
throughout the US.

In fact, in Massachusetts the governor issues an annual
Presidents Day proclamation honoring Presidents that come
from Massachusetts. Alabama observes the day as Washington
and Jefferson Day, and in Virginia, George Washington’s
home state, the holiday is known simply as George
Washington Day.

So while we all celebrate this day dedicated to our
Presidents, it is easy to see that it is not as equally
revered throughout the country.

Our Nation’s Birthday

On July 4th, we celebrate probably the most important
birthday to those of us who live in the US. July 4th, 1776
is the day we celebrate our Nations birthday.

For some this is just another day off, a day to watch
fireworks, party with family and friends, have a few beers
or take a little vacation. But there is so much more to
celebrating our Nations birthday.

July 4th is an important day in our history. It is the day
we should remember all of the rights and freedoms we have
as Americans and enjoy them. Many made the ultimate
sacrifice to ensure our freedom and freedom does not come
cheap.

On our Nations birthday, we should take time to remember
those who made those sacrifices. All of the 56 men who
signed the Declaration of Independence did not live to see
what their sacrifices provided us.

In fact, 5 signers were captured by the British and
tortured before they died. Twelve went home to find their
dwellings ransacked and burned and nine fought and died
from wounds or hardships of the war.

That is almost half the men who signed out nations greatest
symbol of freedom. But they signed it anyway, knowing that
in doing so, they were committing treason and could be
sentenced to death if they were caught.

Some of us take this holiday for granted. Our Nations
birthday, July 4th should be celebrated with family and
friends.

Enjoy the fireworks and Bar-B-Q’s, the picnics and the fun.
But take time to remember those who put themselves at risk
so we could live in a free country.

Milestone Birthdays

While birthdays in themselves are a very special event,
there are times in a person’s life when we can’t ignore the
milestones they have reached.

These birthday parties are usually a little more special
and the gifts given tent to be extra special as well. Most
of these birthdays are a sort of coming-of-age along with
increased privileges and responsibilities.

It starts from the beginning. The 1st birthday is typically
where it begins. Normally during a child’s first birthday
it is more about the family and friends of the parents as
opposed to a party for the child’s friends.

Most children on their first birthday are given either
their own small cake or their own piece to eat however they
like. This is usually messy because they go at it with
hands and mouths.

The next most important milestone birthday is usually the
13th birthday. This is when a child officially becomes a
teenager.

In some religions this is the year that a child becomes an
adult and begins to take on adult responsibilities. After
13 is the one most teens look forward to.

The 16th birthday is the year that most US states allow a
teen to legally drive without their parents present.

When a teenager celebrates their 18th birthday, they are
able to legally vote, join the military and are now
considered an adult.

The next milestone Birthday is the all-important 21st
birthday. This is the legal drinking age in the US.

The next milestone comes at 35. This is when in most
countries, someone can run for the highest political office
such as President of the United States.

After that, 40 is considered the over the hill birthday and
then typically every ten years is another milestone.

Happy Birthday To You

There is one thing and one thing only that announces to
everyone it is time for cake, and it is my birthday. The
words are simple and everyone who can speak English knows
the words, from a toddler to someone who is 100 years old.

Comprised of 4 bars, 16 words each the tune is simple and
the meaning is deep.

In fact, according to the Guinness Book of World Records,
Happy Birthday is the most popular song in the English
Language.

And although it has been translated into many different
languages, it is usually sung in English, even in countries
that don’t speak English as their primary language.

The Hill sisters composed the tune, -Happy Birthday To
You-, in 1893. Originally the schoolteachers wrote the tune
to a song entitles -Good Morning To You- and was sung to
the classroom every morning.

But the version we know was copyrighted in 1935 and the
copyright is scheduled to expire in 2030. In fact,
technically it is illegal to publicly perform -Happy
Birthday To You- unless royalties are paid to the Summy
Company and its owner Warner Chappell who bought the
company in 1990.

The value of the song itself is estimated at $5 million. It
is still unclear who wrote the words to the song though.

Because of some strict copyright issues, filmmakers rarely
show the full content of the song being performed in any
movies. This is why sometimes you will see the
public-domain song -For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow- performed
instead, or the song being removed entirely.

Birthday Party History

While we typically celebrate birthdays today with cake,
treats, family and fun, the history of birthday parties was
not always such a jovial occasion. Such is seen in Europe’s
history thousands of years ago.

Originally, a person feared their upcoming birthday. It was
seen as a fearful experience because people believed bad
spirits could harm you on this day.

Birthday parties were devised as a way to keep those
spirits away by surrounding yourself with friends and loved
ones who often brought small tokens and food to share.

People would use noisemakers to scare off any evil spirits
that may be lurking around the house.

It was in the middle ages that birthday parties began to
take on a more celebratory state and the tone turned more
positive. But they were not yet commonplace amongst
peasants. In fact, most birthday parties were only
celebrated by royalty or the very wealthy.

It wasn’t until reformation that the birthday party became
a more common occurrence in England. People then began to
make cakes and treats for the birthday person and would
often tuck small fortune tokens into the cake for guests.

It is thought that children’s birthday parties originated
in Germany and was called Kinderfeste.

Over time, birthday parties have evolved from small
gatherings to ward away evil spirits, to wealthy or royalty
held events to what is now known as our modern birthday
parties.

In fact, most people celebrate with some sort of party,
especially children. A cake is typically commonplace and
almost always is alit with birthday candles, which the
birthday person gets to blow out and make a wish.

Birthday Cake

It is commonplace in the US to celebrate our birthday with
a beautiful and tasty birthday cake. Although the Greeks
were the first to use cakes to celebrate birthdays, they
were commonly used to celebrate the birthdays of gods and
goddesses.

And the inclusion of candles on a birthday cake is also of
Greek origin as the cake to celebrate the birthday of the
Greek moon god Artemis was topped with lit candles.

In the middle ages, the English would conceal symbolic
items inside the cake. Each item was a prediction for the
finder’s future.

Usually items such as gold coins, rings and thimbles were
baked into the cake. The birthday cake made its way to
Western culture in the mid 19th century and has been an
important part of birthday celebrations since.

When cutting into ones birthday cake, there are little
superstitions some people believe. If the knife touches the
bottom, or when pulling the knife from the cake itself
there are pieces of cake stuck to the knife, than the
birthday person must kiss the nearest person of the
opposite sex.

Another belief is when you blow the candles out on your
cake, you are supposed to make a wish. If the candles are
blown out in one blow and the wisher keeps the wish a
secret, then it is believed the wish will come true.

Birthday cakes are typically highly decorated with lots of
colors and flowers or something of that sort. For kids, it
is popular to have cartoon characters or their favorite
them on the cake.

Cakes can go from home made, simple designs to more
elaborate cakes that can cost hundreds of dollars.

Baby’s First Birthday

In the US, we celebrate birthdays in the grandest ways. We
spend countless amounts of money and time planning and
carrying out these special parties that last just hours.

When we give birth to a new bundle of joy we typically
spend the first year so crazed that it seems only right to
celebrate that special time with a big celebration of
family and friends.

Because a baby’s first birthday is usually a celebration of
friends and family, they tend to be a huge milestone. All
those people who watched mom grow and give birth, then see
how the baby grows throughout the first year now have a
reason to get together to celebrate again.

And because the baby doesn’t remember their first birthday,
it really makes it about the parents.

One important thing that the birthday boy or girl does get
to do is celebrate with their own piece of cake, or even
their own small cake.

Typically they are left to their own accord with it and
with a little encouragement, the child digs in with hands
and face to enjoy their first birthday treat. It is
understood that they will make a mess and pictures will be
taken. But that is all part of the fun.

Like with all birthdays, gifts are given to the birthday
child. Mostly toys and clothes since they spend their first
few years outgrowing everything they have.

And since most kids first birthdays are so overwhelming,
they tend to fall asleep leaving the parents, family and
friends to enjoy the rest of the day with good food and
treats.