Choosing the Best Birthday Gift for Friends and Family
Celebrating the anniversary of one’s birth is commonplace in many cultures and religions around the globe, and dates back to ancient Rome. Who doesn’t love a birthday party? In addition to birthdays, a Name Day celebration, popular in many European and Latin American countries, is held on the feast day of the Saint for which the person is named. Sometimes a baby will be given the name of the saint who is celebrated on the day of his or her birth, so that the name day and birthday coincide. Birthday festivities typically include a party and gifts for the honoree, and frequently a favorite meal rounds out the celebration.
In many cultures and religions, reaching a particular age milestone is significant. Certain birthdays throughout a person’s life represent specific cultural and legal conventions. For example, in the United States legal adulthood is reached at the age of 21. Other legal rights such as obtaining a driver’s license or being able to vote occur at other age-specific milestones. In Judaism, boys and girls become obligated in their religious commandments and are also finally regarded as part of the Jewish community at the time they celebrate their bar (for boys) or bat (for girls) mitzvah at the age of 13 or 12, respectively. For many centuries, the Japanese have been celebrating a Coming of Age Day each January to congratulate anyone who reached the age of 20 in the previous year and to help them understand they are now adults. In the United States, a young girl’s 16th birthday is marked with a Sweet Sixteen party while some Hispanic American countries celebrate a girl’s 15th birthday in similar fashion. Hindus in India replace a boy’s 12th or 13th birthday with a “thread ceremony,” representative of his coming of age. The list of birthday customs goes on. Consider these other interesting birthday factoids:
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