While birthdays always come once every year (unless, of course, you’re a leap year baby), there are certain coming-of-age milestones that make this time of year all the more special. Whether it is surviving your first year out of the womb or breaking the double-digits in age as you turn 10, birthdays hold special memories. They create the various highlights, achievements and freedoms throughout life that correspond to how old you are at the time.
Throughout the world, different cultures embrace specific birthdays as the transition into adulthood, filled with special celebrations and reflection. Below are a few to take note of:
Turning 12 or 13: In the Jewish culture, bar mitzvahs (boys) and bat mitzvahs (girls) signify their entrance into maturity. For boys, the celebration takes place on or around their 13th birthday, while girls experience this moment on or around their 12th birthday.
Turning 14: Today, several Asian countries regard the 14th birthday as the transition into adulthood and society for both male and females.
Turning 15: When girls in the Latin American culture turn 15 years of age, a quinceanera is held, which celebrates this milestone.
For years, Sweet Sixteen birthday parties have been held to commemorate a break from adolescence. Traditionally, this sort of merriment focused on girls, but today, the celebration has become quite popular for boys as well. This is also the time in ones’ life where first cars are bought and driven after obtaining a learner’s permit.
You might be a couple steps closer to adulthood when turning 16, but 18 years old is when you really start to rack up more freedoms in life. This age says you are now responsible enough to play a role in society and the government. Many high school students graduate at the age of 18, where they can go on to enlist for military service or legally purchase a pack of cigarettes. They can try their hand at winning the million-dollar lottery or drive across the country with their driver’s license. At this age, they can also decide who is fit enough to govern their world.
While it is highly likely that the first drink came before the 21st birthday, it is now legal to purchase and consume alcohol. This momentous birthday is met with a round of partying that often begins at midnight. This is when many truly feel they have become an adult.
For some, the 30th birthday is often met with a certain sadness and melancholy as they kiss what they believe to be their “youthful” years goodbye. After the 30th birthday passes, often this feeling is replaced with a renewed sense that there are many, many good years ahead.
Inching their way towards retirement, between mid-40’s and the 50th birthday, many experience mid-life crises, vital turning points and achievements that cause loads of reflective moments.
Often, this birthday signifies the many years of retirement you have to look forward to. This is the time to try things you’ve never done before, visit countries you’ve only read about and spoil your grandkids rotten with love and attention.
While disease runs rampant around the world, turning 80 and beyond is a great achievement. It is so extraordinary that United States citizens can receive a special birthday greeting from the White House when turning 80 or older. Of course, a family member must arrange this honor through contacting the White House’s Greetings Office in writing, but it is still a tribute any birthday boy or girl would get a kick out of.
In the United Kingdom, Canada and other countries, turning 100, 105 or older grants you a message from the Queen on your birthday.