Happy Birthday To Me
I’ve discovered that I share my birthday with Garry Kasparov (world chess champ – perhaps a day for strategy and brains?), Samuel Beckett (playwright, most famously of ‘Waiting for Godot’, so some hope for me developing deeper high-brow writing skills?) and Thomas Jefferson, third president of the USA (I leave you to draw your own conclusions on that one!).
Interestingly, (well, according to Wikipedia, anyway) it is thought the large-scale celebration of birthdays in Europe began with the cult of Mithras, which originated in Persia but was spread by soldiers throughout the Roman Empire.
You may be aware that some segments of the Muslim communities do not celebrate birthdays of any sort, either their own, or even that of the Prophet Muhammed. I know that they cite this as “bid’ah”, based on the view that this was not part of the Prophet’s way (something I don’t feel is strictly correct, but that’s my personal view). However, I was curious to discover that Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate it either as they state it is a pagan custom. Apparently some Jews do not celebrate birthdays either (I’d be interested to find out more from any Jewish readers if this is the case), stating that the day of death is better than the day of birth, and also citing the only example of a birthday celebrating in the Torah being that of the Pharaoh, and who would want to emulate him?
In any case, I find birthdays a great way to take some time out to show someone they are special. Yeah, yeah, I get that you are supposed to show them everyday, but let’s be realistic – a day specially focusing on someone is a real treat to renew and strengthen loving attachment.
And of course, birthdays are a good excuse for a get-together and some cake. Mine’s a double chocolate with fresh strawberries, if you were wondering.