Birthdays

In my sleepless hours I began to ponder birthdays. I don’t celebrate them, mine or anybody else’s, and I began to wonder why people do. I’ve never understood it, it seems such an alien thing to me so I turned to the god of all answers, google 

Apparently, it was originally a pagan tradition. They thought that evil spirits came out on a person’s birthday each year so they lit candles on the day, one for each year or the person’s life and a few more to represent the coming years. The candles brought light to chase away the evil spirits.

The ancient Greeks believed that each person had a spirit that attended his or her birth, and kept watch. That spirit “had a mystic relation with the God on whose birthday the individual was born,” so says the book, The Lore of Birthdays.

The ‘happy birthday to you’ song is the most recognizable song in the English language, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, and started as a song for schoolkids.

In 1893, two Kentucky schoolteachers, Patty and Mildred Hill wrote “Good Morning To All.” The tune was published in a book for schoolteachers then in 1933, the song was in an Irving Berlin musical. The sisters hold the copyrights to the song although the words were changed, and it’s not clear who changed the words.

The owner of the copyright splits proceeds with the Hill’s estate, which is reported to be worth $2 million a year.

I wonder if anybody here celebrates birthdays and if so, why?

Parents
  • In some ways, I bind birthdays up with other ways society uses of categorising people.  So we have 'youth', 'the middle-aged', 'senior citizens', etc. People are 'Millennials' or 'silver-surfers', or they represent the 'grey vote'.  'Life begins at 40'.  '50 is the new 30'.  'Another milestone reached'.  'Over the hill'.  And so on and on and on.  In western society especially, older people are shunted aside and disdained.  The focus is on the young.  For one thing, it keeps the cosmetics, fashion and advertising industries in business.  Older people have so much to offer.  Wisdom and insight, borne of years of experience.  This is why, in other cultures, the older generations are revered.  I remember when The Rolling Stones headlined at Glastonbury a few years ago.  One bright young thing was asked if she was looking forward to their set.  'Why would I want to see a bunch of old has-beens?'  There, dear... go see a nice young pop band and settle yourself down...

    Compare that, mind, with the reception Jeremy Corbyn received there, too.  Maybe there's still hope...

    I may be almost 60, but - through a lifetime of looking after myself - I seem to have more energy and fitness than many of the 20-somethings I work with.  I'm really not sure if they know how to take me.  I'm older than most of their fathers - but I don't act like a father, or a man of nearly 60.  I seem to defy their preconception of how people their parents' age should be.  I'm not, and never have been, preoccupied with having a family, buying a house, setting money aside for a pension, getting career advancement, improving my income, etc.  I leave that to those whom it suits.  Not me.

    Three years ago, I had a partner who was half my age.  The age difference meant nothing to her, and nothing to me.  She often said that I actually made her feel younger than she was.  She, meanwhile, was very much more mature than many 27-year-olds.  It didn't work out for a number of reasons, but the age gap wasn't one of them.  One of the young things at work saw my ex's photo on my Facebook page and asked me who she was.  When I told her, she couldn't believe it.  'Ew... that's disgusting.  You must have either had lots of money or been good in bed.'

    Ho hum!  Life is a continuum, not a series of milestones.  Not a body, or a state of mind.  Not a set number of years.  Not a bunch of categories.  A continuum.  Take away the numbers and who'd care?

Reply
  • One of the young things at work saw my ex's photo on my Facebook page and asked me who she was.  When I told her, she couldn't believe it.  'Ew... that's disgusting.  You must have either had lots of money or been good in bed.'

    I really hope that, when your work friend said that to you, you simply (and sincerely) said 'yes' and then quietly left the room.

    Haha. 

Children