Why do we celebrate birthdays?

I mean, what’s so important about a birthday? We were born on a certain date in a certain year and we are definitely not going to be born again and again on the same date. So, what’s the point of celebrating our birthday?

When we were kids, we were excited about celebrating birthdays because we could go to school with our birthday dress (mine was in summer holidays, so I never had this opportunity), distribute chocolates to friends (and eat more than what we give), throw a party at our house and call in friends/neighbors to have fun, eagerly wait for them to leave so that we can open the gifts,  and in general we want to hog the limelight for that one day.But why do people aspire to celebrate their birthdays even after they become adults?

During college, we are expected to give a treat to our friends and suddenly we find that so many people have become our best friends! So, we take them to a shop and these people eat as if they did not have lunch on that day (some of them don’t). After the bill is paid, we get to participate (read: be on the receiving side) in the event of birthday bums. If you don’t know what that is, it’s better not to. Somehow, I escaped from this every year 🙂

When we start working, the first thing in the morning (of the B-day) we find a happy birthday mail to all our colleagues from the friendly HR team. That’s it, all hell breaks loose. People plan where to go for lunch, what desserts to order, where to have ice-creams/juices, how many (more) people can be called, etc and inform you just before lunch time. These days, one can’t say I don’t have money, because a trip to the ATM is included immediately. One can’t even say it’s month end and my finances are tight – Everyone knows we have credit cards! Damn these things.

During the evening, the normally-busy-friends-and-cousins-on-their-birthdays are already present in your home! Oh, they become so friendly and even offer their planning services so that you can have fun! Of course, they bring a small cake which they make you cut and drench your face into it, once you cut it. Well, you get the whole cake for yourself, but you can’t eat even a bit of it. Then its going out and helping many shop keepers run their business 🙂

It’s no use trying to keep your birthday secret. There are so many online services that remind people (often weeks in advance). Remember the birthday calender where you once innocently gave your birth date? Even otherwise, there is facebook!

And then there are wives (Disclaimer: I am not married) who expect you to remember their birthdays, their cousin’s daughter’s birthday, their grandparent’s cousin’s daughter’s birthday….. Well, you get the drift right? Even if you forget one birthday, you are in deep trouble. And if that one birthday happens to be their’s, well you know the consequences. And they love surprises during their birthday. That’s why we surprise them by forgetting that very day. Why can’t they understand this simple logic? 🙂

Birthdays are the most meaningless forget-worthy days which remind us of the number of years of our wasteful existence on this earth. Period.

🙂

Destination Infinity

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28 Replies to “Why do we celebrate birthdays?”

  1. yes nice post agree with you,
    is a day which remind that one more year the death is near
    may be to forget that everyone celebrates the BD

    1. That’s an interesting perspective. But, what if death is nearer by one year? I don’t think it makes much difference.

      Destination Infinity

  2. My sons don’t like celebrating birthdays. My husband too. I like to get wishes, that is all. Sometimes we just go out and eat which is very very rare in our house!

    When the children were small, I used to bake cake at home, call neighbours and friends and celebrate. Now, the thrill is gone. Yes, children used to wait to open the gifts!

    My son too has not mentioned about birthday bums, must ask him today! I doubt he would explain! My son seems to be a lot like you. He has got very good sense of humour, but can be tight lipped if he wants to!

    Yes, because of the credit cards our expenses are doubling nowadays!

    You say you are not married? After reading the last paragraph, I wonder!

    Very interesting post, D.I.

    1. We have not baked cake at our house but I remember people doing it at our grandmother’s house. I loved the smell (while baking and after baking). I used to spend more using credit card earlier, but these days I use it only for inevitable expenditures. When I was young, I was excited about birthdays when I was a child but even before I joined college, this day lost its luster/sheen for me.

      Destination Infinity

  3. In all honesty, I personally don’t like celebrating birthday’s. As a guy I find this flame to be kept alive by women. As the youngest member of my family – without fail the ladies of the house ensured the birthday’s of everyone were celebrated equally.

    As I grew up, and as an appreciation of being born into this world, into my family – I occasionally raised a toast – but as soon as my girl friends realised it was my birthday or a birthday of another friend – it becomes a party. As a result, the favour has to be returned.

    In fairness to your question – why we celebrate birthday’s? simply cannot be answered as the significance of this day is valued differently by people.

    I know as a guy – men don’t like celebrating it, but if there is a women or rather female involved they have no choice but to get involved.

    1. I wonder why many men (including me) don’t like celebrating birthdays? Perhaps because we find out that birthdays are no longer about us having fun? Or maybe we become modest after a certain age? Not sure…

      Destination Infinity

  4. oh i am a sucker for birthdays – mine, my daughter’s, my husband’s, this one’s that one’s everyone’s :))) and i still feel the excitement and thrill as i felt when i was a child. i LOOOVE birthdays

    btw, some of the paras were so much fun to read…the way you described the whole hopeless situation the bday girl/boy find themselves in – too funny

    1. Other’s hopeless situations are always fun to read 🙂 Were you spared from birthday ‘treats’ when you were working too?

      Destination Infinity

        1. Eating treats during other’s birthdays? But the day when we need to pay for all those free treats would not be far! 🙂

          Destination Infinity

  5. I like to celebrate kids birthday for the all the reasons you mentioned 🙂

    But i don’t like to celebrate mine,now because of fb all the friends come and wish us on our wall,it feels good to get so many wishes..

    When working i told my HR not to send mails about my birthday instead as per company norms give me the card and the gift voucher 😀 😀 😀

    About the parties and all i completely agree with you,people who are not close with you become close on your birthdays and it mostly seen during the college days….

    1. Your company gave a gift voucher on birthdays? Angelic company 🙂 Actually, I don’t get many wishes on FB and that might be because I don’t wish others on their birthdays as well!

      Destination Infinity

  6. I celebrate my birthday because I jsut want an excuse to have some party , lots to eat and have fun ..

    My dad would celebrate is EACH year even when i was in college he use to invite all my friends and we would have a evening with a dholi and all ..
    although i dont have a big one but i still celebrate although alone here in uk ..

    Thankfully ,my close friends are still the same …

    Bikram’s

    1. I know it’s an excuse to have fun and it’s fine. But somehow, when it comes to myself, I am not so excited about this day anymore!

      Destination Infinity

  7. I am someone who used to enjoy celebrating birthdays till a certain age. Nowadays maximum I do is spend time with family…and max to max cut a small cake which I actually get to eat. Bas.

    I have started hiding my birthday from facebook. (It almost fell apart coz Vimmuuu wished me on my wall publicly and that started a chain of comments and wishes on my wall, which I had to privacy protect for fear of the entire world coming to know! 😛 ) Fortunatley it was a Sunday so I didn’t have to go to office, hence that’s one headache saved.

    It’s not fear of getting old or whatever but I guess I have reached a stage where I feel the people who can remember my bday without the aid of facebook need to wish me, and I choose to celebrate it with very close friends and/or family. I guess I AM getting old ! 😛 😀

    1. I missed mentioning that point – getting older by a year on each and every birthday! Actually, in the offices that I worked people are not ashamed to ask for a treat on monday if ever my birthday came on sat/sun!!

      Destination Infinity

  8. Every day are special and beautiful according to me. But still birthdays are great! I don’t particularly celebrate it by cutting the cake or throwing a party, but do it in a simple yet memorable way! I do make sure I take the day off on that day whichever part of the world I am in. I want to treat myself with good things, or things that I am not able to do in the rest of the year.. I am a grown adult, but still I look forward, keep counting down for my birthday to come. Even on the March 6th, I told S that there’s still 10 more months for my B’Day 😀

  9. whats up with u?? becoming too cynical!! why wasteful existence?? I think people with low self esteem think that. I for one dont believe my existence till now has been wasteful..learned so much, received and gave joy, did so many things, saw so many things, enjoyed so many dishes..list goes on. And will continue to exist wonderfully for years to come!
    I love celebrating birthdays, giving and receiving gifts!! birthday remind us to celebrate the life we have!

    1. That ‘wasteful existence’ thing was supposed to be a joke. But now, I know it sounds serious. Sometimes, words cannot convey the exact tone we intend it to, you know 🙂

      Destination Infinity

  10. I think it’s a personal thing. I know some people for whom birthdays mean a lot and they want to celebrate while others don’t want to make a big deal of it. I think it’s fine to celebrate birthdays if you want to! And if someone who is close to you expects that you remember their birthday, I would say make the effort! It’s so little that they are asking!

    1. Of course, it’s a personal thing. I am just trying to understand why I am not inclined to celebrate my own birthday and if some others feel the same way too.

      Destination Infinity

    1. But why should the perception change? A birthday is just an opportunity to have fun and be happy right? Why still do we not fancy celebrating our birthday (I mean, some of us)?

      Destination Infinity

  11. my main reason to celebrate bday when i was young was to collect as many presents/gifts as possible. i loved surprises then.

    now its just another day to remind oneself that you got older by 1 more year!

  12. Great stuff indeed!

    In spite of what has been said or done, birthday is a ‘necessary evil’! Whether you like it or not, it keeps coming every year!

    ARJacob

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