When you think of birthdays, what do you think of? Big parties with all of your friends? Balloons, candles that represent your age, cake, and clowns? In the United States, we have our own idea of how to celebrate birthdays and we have formed our own traditions.
A big birthday in America is your sixteenth birthday. This is the big one that everyone waits for in throughout school. You get to take your driver’s test to get your license; and if you’re lucky, your parents will even buy you a car. Personally, I think that I looked forward to this birthday the most. It was so nice being able to drive up to school with your new car for the first time. It’s something that I will never forget.
In the Middle East, they have some different birthday traditions. In Israel, the child who is having the birthday will wear a crown made from leaves or flowers and sits in a chair that is decorated with streamers which will be lifted by the parents. The guests attending the party will dance around the chair that has the child in it. A Bar Mitzvah is a party that is held after the 13th birthday of a Jewish boy. A Bat Mitzvah is a party to celebrate the 12th birthday for Jewish girls. The Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah is when the child officially becomes an adult and it begins the child’s acceptance of observing the commandments as a responsible member of the Jewish community. Their sixteenth birthday is very similar to how we celebrate it in America. For their sixteenth birthday, they can now get a job, a driver’s license, and girls can have their first adult party.
In Muslim cultures, people thank the god, Allah, after the birth of a child by giving out gifts to the poor. When the child is about a week old, his family donates an amount of silver, usually equal to, or more than the weight of the child’s hair. The child’s family and friends will also get together to have a big dinner to celebrate the child.
There are some great differences between these parts of the world, but there are also many similarities. Birthdays are something that are a big part of most cultures. How do you celebrate birthdays in your family?