In today's society, a person's birthday is a special occasion, usually marked by a celebration and family and friends gather to make them feel special, give them gifts such as exciting experience gift and have a good time. But has it always been that way? First of all, exactly what is a birthday?
A birthday can be defined as the anniversary of the day of one's birth. This is usually celebrated each year on the same month and day on which the person was born. Birthdays have long been celebrated by humanity. Ever since man learnt how to keep track of time and the created the first lunar calendars, mankind has celebrated the anniversary of each birth.
Few actual records of birthday celebrations have survived, and most of those describe the celebrations of kings or other nobles of high ranks. It can be assumed that this is the case since only people of wealth could afford to hire scribes to keep a record of their celebrations. King Herod the Great of Israel is said to have hosted a lavish supper for his friends, and high nobles of the shores of the Galilee. The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt would hold extravagant feasts for their court followers.
In pagan times it was believed that we are surrounded by evil spirits and that on the day of the anniversary of their birth, ie their birthdays, people became more susceptible to the influence of these evil spirits. In order to protect them from harm, when it was a person's birthday, their families and friends would gather around bringing good wishes and thoughts.
Later, they believed that the giving of physical gifts strengthened the person even more against the insluence of the evil spirits. They would also light candles as prayers to their gods, and would blow noisemakers to scare away the evil spirits.
These days, in many parts of the world, certain births have more significance than others, at least to the celebrant. This is the day when they come of age, and are legally allowed to drink alcohol, and smoke. This is also often the age when they are allowed to sign legal documents, obtain a drivers license, and marry without parental permission. This 'coming of age' differs from country to country, but is usually between the ages of 16 and 21.
Today, a birthday is celebrated with much cheer and good wishes for the coming year. The festivals often include a party … Whether just a small celebration with family or a few friends, or it can be a huge party often dressed dressed, or themed. However it is celebrated, there are usually decorations, as well as a cake often bearing lit candles. Guests will traditionally bring gifts for their host.