Tuesday, 17 May 2011
I personally tend to view my birthday a bit like New Year, as a natural time for looking backwards and forwards and checking how far I've come. This works particularly well for me as my birthday falls in May, so a good time for measuring progress on New Year resolutions and the like. It's also nearly the end of the school year cycle (they're sitting their exams in the next few weeks), so the end-of-a-cycle thing works professionally too, and this is a time we're all naturally talking about how we'll change things for next year.
It's interesting how birthdays tend to cluster. For us, this is a busy week, with my birthday yesterday and my husband's to come on Saturday. We often have a joint celebration and sometimes joint gifts (films, music and edible goodies we like, but here's a hint: domestic-themed joint presents are not so loved!). The kids' birthdays aren't far apart either, being 29th September and 10th October. Oh, how I remember the older one's 5th birthday party when the little one was 11 days old and I was somewhat tired...
Cakes with candles are now common to many industrialised cultures, but did you know that in Japan and China, for example, it was traditional to celebrate everyone's birthday at the New Year? And that in many African cultures, individual birthdays aren't particularly marked? In that context, coming-of-age rites are important at specific milestone ages.
Do you mark birthdays in a way that is particular to you? Do you know of interesting traditions to celebrate birthdays?