May is my birthday month, and I really loved having a May birthday when I was growing up. It broke up my year of receiving gifts into a nice triad: August – new school clothes (gifts); Christmas – obvious gift-receiving time; and pre-summer – my birthday!
May is also a time of year I fondly recall some of the silliness connected to my maternal grandmother, Rosemary. For as long as I can remember, she had a different view on how “old” someone was. According to Rosemary, when you had a birthday, say it was your 10th birthday, she would say that “you completed 10 years around the sun, and you are now in your 11th year.” To her, this meant that you were now 11. This conversation continued every year, and she would repeat her viewpoint to everyone in the family. We, the family, carried on Rosemary’s tradition after she passed away until, one day, the tradition ended abruptly.
My aunt, let’s call her “R”, was having lunch with my Grandfather on his 79th birthday. In normal tradition, Aunt R said “You know dad, you’ve completed 79 years and you are now in your 80th year.” My Grandfather, as it was relayed to me, sat there for a brief moment contemplating his reply. He then said to Aunt R, “Well daughter, that means you are beginning your 60th year this summer!” I was informed shortly after this conversation that we (the family) would no longer be playing Grandma Rosemary’s game!
Recently, I was also reminded of a birthday celebration I participated in a number of years ago. A friend’s stepfather, who was European, was having a birthday dinner and I was invited. He took a number of us out to a very fine restaurant. I apologized that I did not have a gift for him (poor college student that I was). He replied, “In my country, the person having the birthday gives the gifts.” Thinking back to this event got me wondering how do other countries/cultures celebrate birthdays? This article explains a number of different celebrations. I’m curious if you know of any not on this list, and would love to hear about them in our next conversation. https://www.babbel.com/en/
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As always, I hope that you are doing well, and staying safe & healthy!