Where do birthdays come from?


Once a year we literally celebrate surviving another year on Earth. We call it a birthday but maybe we should call it “Survival Day”. Besides, if you are like my husband, surviving his birthday is usually a feat in itself.

With summer rolling along my lawn cards business has been getting busier, particularly for birthday signs. In this business I spend a lot of time driving to client’s homes, often alone, which is the perfect time to collect my thoughts, sing country ballads like a superstar (with the window down of course), and reflect on life. But sometimes, without warning something like ‘where we do birthdays come from?’ pops in my head and I can’t let it go until I find out the answer. 

Unfortunately, this one topic that isn’t quite clear. It is not like someone declared, “From this day forward we will celebrate one’s birth every 365 times the moon rises and the sun falls.”

One of the earliest references of birthdays is from the bible, Mark 6:21: “On his birthday Herod gave a banquet for his high officials and military commanders and the leading men of Galilee”. Scholars feel it was initially a Pharaoh’s coronation date as their birth as a god and wasn’t until later that the Romans eventually came to celebrate actual birth dates. Then around the 4th century, the most famous birthday became an annual celebration — Christians began to celebrate the birthday of you-know-who on December 25th. And as they say… the rest is history.

P.S. Birthday cakes came much later… and we can thank the creators of pilsner, fine cars, and wurst for that annual sugar high!

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