Happy birthday?


By Edward B. Antonio



When I was younger, I greeted a pretty girl, “Happy birthday!”

She was around 19 at that time–vibrant, brilliant and close. She would hold my arm as we walked together at the church aisle to attend mass; I thought she liked me as I was starting to like her then.

Later that day, I received a letter from her:

“Thank you for the greetings. You were one of the many people who greeted me today. I felt good but not great hearing those greetings. You see, I stopped celebrating my birthdays 3 years ago when I was 16 because I was then nearing 17, moving on to 18, 19 and of course, 20, and that means getting older through those birthday greetings.

I always wanted to be young. I do not like to grow old. I always like being pampered like a child where I get all the attention I like. Growing older means slowly falling in love with guys (like you?) and then birthdays mean some more years added to your age. I always like to be young and enjoy frolicking around with people my age or with people younger than me! (and with you?)

By the way, thanks for the attention.

See you later, but no more birthday greetings, please…”

I was amazed at the letter. It was written well. But I was more amazed of the content. I never thought of that. She was a perfect girl her age, but one day, while directing a night activity for the youth, she suddenly barged into my “office” and said that I was too passive in directing things.

“Ang hina mo namang nang-organisa,” (You organized it poorly) she said.

I was turned off. She was really a child who could not guard her mouth.

Well, I agreed with her when she said she had stopped celebrating her birthdays because she didn’t like to grow old. I had been trying to do that since I was 20 but I sneaked celebrating it once in a while with some close friends.

Other people also have some reasons why they don’t also celebrate theirs.

One congregation is the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Their reasons are quite okay for me:

  1. Birthday celebrations have pagan roots. According to Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend, these celebrations originated from the belief that on a person’s birthday, “evil spirits and influences have the opportunity to attack the celebrants” and that “the presence of friends and the expression of good wishes help to protect the celebrant.” The book The Lore of Birthdays says that in ancient times, birthday records were “essential for the casting of a horoscope” based on “the mystic science of astrology.” This book adds that “birthday candles, in folk belief, are endowed with special magic for granting wishes.”

The Bible, however, condemns the use of magic, divination, spiritism, or “anything like this.” In fact, one reason why God condemned the ancient city of Babylon was that its inhabitants practiced astrology, which is a form of divination.

  1. The early Christians did not celebrate birthdays. The World Book Encyclopedia says that “they considered the celebration of anyone’s birth to be a pagan custom.” The Bible shows that the apostles and others who were taught directly by Jesus established a pattern that all Christians should follow.
  2. The only commemoration that Christians are required to keep involves, not a birth, but a death—that of Jesus. This should not be surprising, for the Bible says that “the day of death is better than the day of birth.” (Ecclesiastes 7:1) By the end of his life on earth, Jesus had made a good name with God, making the day of his death more important than the day of his birth.
  3. The Bible never refers to a servant of God celebrating a birthday.

But this is a free country, fellas. We can do what we like as long as we don’t break any law.

Priya Aurora also doesn’t celebrate her birthdays and she enumerated the reasons why:

  1. Birthdays mean you have to go on saying ‘Thank You’ all day long.
  2. I have to smile all day, even if I hate faking it.
  3. It means I will get gifts and be forced to think of a return gift.
  4. When I will go out for dinner, the whole restaurant will look at me the moment the waiters start singing the birthday song.
  5. And if I am accompanied by relatives I don’t like much, they might embarrass me more by asking for a free meal or a big discount.
  6. I will be forced to eat cake and there goes my diet, out of the window.
  7. My cell phone will ring all day and I will have to pick up each and every call.
  8. I will be expected to treat my co-workers or friends with free pizza.
  9. Our spouses will be forced to rake up their brains for gift ideas.
  10. I would have to think of new ways to answer – ‘How old are you?’
  11. Our young kids would want to give us gifts. And we would be paying.
  12. Some nasty friend will not be able to resist the urge to say “You look young for your age” although I know she is telling a big lie.
  13. Come to think of it, we torture ourselves with the same routine every year
  14. I can save a small fortune by skipping the celebrations.
  15. I have just completed one more revolution around the sun. So what?
  16. If your birthday is important to you, it is to me too. But I free you of any obligation to acknowledge mine.

So what else can I say since it’s my best friend’s birthday next week?

Forget about getting old, Johnny friend. We’ll gonna miss your light beers!

Happy birthday, Johnny.

Happy birthday, fellas!#