Why celebrate a birthday with gifts?
There are several phenomena at once. On the one hand, this is a long-standing tradition, supported by the pressure of the consumer society in which we live today. On the other hand, there is a hidden inner expectation that we will be given something. And we consciously expect a gift that is useful and important, but a little more so that it will flatter our self-esteem and vanity and exceed our expectations. Subconsciously, we seek to repay our life debt. By giving gifts to our environment, we try to pay our debts to our parents.
Why is it often so difficult to celebrate an anniversary?
It is really very difficult for many people to survive entering the new decade. Because we suddenly realize that ten years have passed completely unnoticed or even meaningless. Therefore, celebrating birthdays can help us to accept our age, emphasize our individuality and establish ourselves in this uniqueness, including due to the fact that we are surrounded by close and beloved people, and we are the object of their attention and affection. Thus, the ritual of giving gifts, blowing out candles, saying good wishes serves as a kind of magic spell. Blowing out candles, the number of which indicates the number of years lived, we make wishes for the future. We share the cake with others as we accept the fact that we are all getting old without exception. We accept gifts that are designed to compensate for the years spent and the losses of the past, and good wishes related to the future life, drive away thoughts of approaching death.
Why do some people never celebrate their birthday?
This happens for several reasons at once. First of all, we are talking about religious or spiritual motives. For example, Jehovah’s witnesses cannot celebrate the date of their birth. Muslims, Buddhists, and Taoists also refused to celebrate for various reasons. Even Catholicism has long recognized and encouraged only wedding anniversaries and deaths. The new age movement rejects calendar arithmetic as having nothing to do with real personal development. From the standpoint of its adherents, only individual progress deserves to be celebrated. In other words, all of the above categories have a different set of values and priorities.
As for “mere mortals”, the approaching birthday feeds one of the types of fear. It makes us think about unfinished projects and unachieved goals, which leads to a sense of defeat and the meaninglessness of our being. The absence of offspring at the age of 30-35 years, divorce at 40-45 years, dismissal for reasons that we consider unfair, grief experienced, a fatal event-all this leads to sad thoughts.
In such circumstances, people seriously think about whether to celebrate a birthday, because it will not feel like a real holiday or will be celebrated in spite of itself or very, very modestly. And the calendar openly mocks those born on February 29…
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