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Why Do We Celebrate Birthdays?

February is a busy birthday month in my family. On the 11th we celebrate the birth of my first born nephew. Every year I remind him that he’s the reason I believe in love at first sight. Then on Valentine’s Day we celebrate my twin nephews' birthdays. Later on the 24th I take time to remember my great aunt Gloria. I could always count on her to call me two days later to wish me a great birthday.

With all this celebrating I began to wonder how birthday festivities came about. Being the information junkie that I am, I went down a rabbit hole and found some fun facts to share!

Did you know that the ‘Happy Birthday' song is only 126 years old?

So what was everyone doing before that? Not singing? Not celebrating? Turns out that the concept of birthday as a celebratory event is a fairly new concept - in fact it’s only a couple hundred years old. Let me clarify, there was such a thing as celebrating one’s day of birth but it was more of an aristocratic tradition and not common practice.

Industrialization was a huge contributor to the birth of birthday parties. As children became less economically valuable, families began having fewer of them. With less children and more resources, parents began doting on their children in novel ways such as - celebrating the day of their birth with cake, candles and gifts. Another contributing factor was the proliferation of clocks and pocket watches. People became very aware of time and its passing. This new age consciousness developed a need to mark milestones such as birthdays.

I would love to share more but I need to plan my birthday lunch for this weekend. Until next time, share in the comments one of your favorite birthday gifts you’ve received?

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