Ask anyone about their favorite day of the year, and the answer is highly likely to be B-Day. We all (at least until a certain age) love celebrating birthdays and start looking forward to the day weeks before. It is when we feel special – the sun seems to be shining for us only. Of course, children are greater fans of birthdays, still we all make the most of the day with parties, cakes and candles, family gatherings and outing with friends. And let’s be honest: amazing gifts make one of the best parts of the day. Birthdays are traditionally celebrated all over the world, but not in the same manner. Each country has its peculiarities that can seem astonishing. Let’s look at some of the most unusual ways to celebrate getting one year better!
In China, there are many traditions and taboos concerning the celebration. Western-like parties are getting common, nevertheless, B-Days are generally not considered worthy of festivities. First, children are born 1-year-old (in contrast to the Western culture where one year must pass from the birth to the celebration of the first birthday). Therefore, children celebrate their first birthday when they are 2. If you’d like to know a person’s age but don’t want to seem too straightforward, you can politely ask about their Chinese zodiac sign. There are 12 of them and they alternate in a set succession, so it’s possible to calculate one’s age. Secondly, there are no celebrations after the actual birthday; it must be done on the day of before it. Women do not celebrate turning 30 (40 for men as this age is thought to be the time of uncertainty and danger; one year is skipped to be on the safe side, and people celebrate turning 31 for women and 41 for men), 33, and 66.
Traditionally people eat long noodles that symbolize long life and hard-boiled eggs dyed red as a symbol of happiness.
Mexico boasts a number of fascinating traditions. To begin with, the birthday boy’s or girl’s head is shoved into the cake to take the first bite, their hands being tied behind their back. Mexicans have their unique song that is not an adopted version of “Happy Birthday”, and one of the most fascinating elements is piñata – a colorful paper mache doll often shaped like an animal and filled with candies and small toys to be a symbol of happiness and amazing life. With bandages on their eyes, people try one by one to hit the toy and break it open to indulge themselves in what it has inside.
In Vietnam, people celebrate their birthdays and add one to their age on New Year’s Day - Tết. Therefore, we may say that all people in Vietnam share the same B-Day date (very convenient as there’s no need to try not to forget about someone’s special date, isn’t it?) All in all, people put much less emphasis on birthdays, and many of them even don’t keep the actual date in mind. Vietnamese celebrate the date of one’s death every year, but it’s not the case with birthdays. But it doesn’t mean that Vietnamese children are left without gifts: every year on Tet they are given a red envelope with some money, and then everyone takes pleasure in eating various delicious food.
Birthdays in Ireland are fun and memorable. But despite being known as great party makers, Irish people don’t have so many unique B-Day traditions. Birthday boys and girls are held upside down and 'bumped' on the floor, one time for each year of life plus an extra one for good luck in the coming year. The 21st birthday is more than special as a boy or a girl is given the key of the house to symbolize their freedom. There’s no celebration without the traditional songs, dancing, foods and drinks.
Norwegians rock when it comes to celebrating birthdays with superb chocolate cakes and fascinating traditions, one of which is Fishing for Ice Cream when everyone tries to pull up a frozen treat connected to a piece of string. Generally, birthday boys and girls are expected to throw a party, and if they don’t it might be even considered offensive. Many parents host birthday parties for their children inviting their schoolmates or the kids they attend kindergarten together to enjoy sweets and lemonade. Adults are expected to throw huge parties on round birthdays. The master of the evening is announced at the beginning and it is not the host\hostess. This designated person deals with all the questions that the guests may come up with and coordinates all the toasts. If the party is huge, someone will unwrap all the presents for the B-Day boy or girl for them not to be distracted from the guests. In Norwegian, there are 2 words for ’birthday’ - fødselsdag and bursdag (of German origin).
The world is rich in unique and sometimes unexpected traditions. After all, birthdays are not about celebrating getting older, they are about celebrating meaningful connection and showing care and love towards our loved ones. It is also a time to recall all happy moments of the year, acknowledge achievements and set goals for another year of life. Add one more special moment to this day by congratulating your loved one with a meaningful gift complimented with SEVAZH Birthday greeting cards – your feelings and wishes will be expressed!
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