How did the Celebration of birthday's "start?"
Before humans had a way of keeping time, no one paid much attention to the anniversary of important events, such as birthdays. Only when ancient peoples began taking notice of the moon's cycles, did they pay attention to the changing seasons and the pattern that repeated itself over and over. Eventually, the first calendars were formulated in order to mark time changes and other special days. From this tracking system came the ability to celebrate birthdays and other significant anniversaries the same day each year.
Evidence of birthday observances dates back before the rise of Christianity. In pagan cultures, people feared evil spirits - especially on their birthdays. It was a common belief that evil spirits were more dangerous to a person when he or she experienced a change in their daily life, such as turning a year older. As a result, birthdays were merry occasions celebrated with family and friends, who surrounded the person of honor with laughter and joy in order to protect them from evil. Instead of gifts, most guests brought positive thoughts and happy wishes for the upcoming year. However, if well-wishers did bring gifts, it was considered an especially good influence for the birthday person.
Although historians are certain that people have observed their birthdays for quite some time, there are few records of such celebrations that still exist. Of these few descriptions, only those birthdays of kings, high-ranking nobility, and other important figures have been documented. Common people and especially children never celebrated their birth when the idea came about. This trend has been explained by a theory that nobility were the only people wealthy enough to throw such celebrations, and quite possibly were the only ones deemed important enough to have been written about or remembered. Some historians believe these early birthday bashes resulted in the custom of wearing birthday "crowns" as time went on.
Eventually, birthday celebrations became a tradition around the world with young and old, rich or poor. Although birthday customs are quite similar in some countries today, not everyone celebrates in the same way. Different people have incorporated their own rituals into the birthday celebration, based on spiritual beliefs and ancient cultural traditions. While you may find some of them odd, or even humorous, each one is unique.
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