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THE BIRTHDAY PAGE

The
Day
You
Were
Born

    THE HISTORY
   OF BIRTHDAYS


      The starting point for birthday celebrations, as in most of our holidays, was pagan in nature. The superstitious people believed in evil spirits and used various rituals to keep them away. They would gather to share best wishes and give gifts to their friends. Their motives, of course, were not necessarily altruistic. They believed, or at least hoped, that this would keep evil spirits from influencing their lives. Noisemakers were used as a way of scaring away evil spirits. 
      Possibly the earliest written birthday reference (664-332 BC) comes to us in the following passage from Hebrew: “And it came to pass the third day, which was Pharaoh’s birthday, that he made a feast unto all his servants; and he lifted up the head of the chief butler and of the chief baker among his servants.” 
      Large-scale celebrations of birthdays in Europe began with the cult of Mithras, a cult which originated in Persia but was spread by Roman soldiers through the Empire. 
      Birthday celebrations were rare during the Middle Ages but they saw a resurgence during the Reformation. At that time, they were seen as a good way to transfer customs from the saint’s days to other dates not linked to the newly repudiated veneration of saints. 
      The modern birthday party probably originated in Germany about 200 years ago. They held celebrations for children and they were known as “kinderfeste” – meaning children’s festival. Thus, Germany was the birthplace of the birthday cake. The tradition of blowing out candles, in hopes that a birthday wish would come true, comes from the belief that people praying over flames would protect them from evil spirits and that smoke carries prayers to God in heaven. 
      The song, “Happy Birthday to You” was composed by two sisters, Mildred and Patty Hill, in 1893, but no one really paid attention to it until the original words “Good Morning to You” were changed to “Happy Birthday to You.”




                     

NOTABLE FACTS:

A person’s “golden birthday” is when the age one turns is the same as the day of the month they were born. For instance, a person born on August 21st would celebrate their golden birthday at 21 years old. A golden birthday is also called a “champagne birthday.”

A “half birthday” on “unbirthday” is celebrated for school children whose birthday do not fall on a school day – especially when they fall on holidays or summer vacation.

Unlike a birthday, a person’s “Feast Day” is celebrated on the day that the church’s calendar recognizes a particular saint. For instance, a person named Patrick would celebrate their “feast day” on March 17th, the feast day of St. Patrick. Everyone named Patrick would have a feast day of March 17th. The feast day for a person named Noel would be on December 25th (Christmas). A person named Joseph would celebrate their feast day on March 19th. Francis would be October 4th. Lucy would be December 13th. You get the picture.

More people celebrate their birthday in August than any other month. The two other months in which birthday rates are high is July and September.

The most common birth date in the United States is October 5th and the least common is May 22nd.



BIBLICAL BIRTHSTONES

      The origin of birthstones comes from “The Breastplate of Aaron” in Exodus 39:10-14
      Four rows of precious stones were mounted on it: in the first row a carnelian, a topaz and an emerald; in the second row, a garnet, a sapphire and a beryl; in the third row a jacinth, an agate and an amethyst; in the fourth row a chrysolite, an onyx and a jasper. They were mounted in gold filigree work. These stones were twelve to match the names of the sons of Israel, and each stone was engraved like a seal with the name of one of the twelve tribes. – Exodus 39:10-14 

      The precise list of birthstones can be found in Revelation 21:19-20 where the foundation stones of the new Jerusalem are listed, in the order of the Roman calendar:
       “The foundations of the city wall were decorated with every previous stone; the first course of stones was jasper, the second sapphire, the third chalcedony, the fourth emerald, the fifth sardonyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh hyacinth, and the twelfth amethyst.” – Rev. 21:19-20 “The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made from a single pearl; and the street of the city was of pure gold, transparent as glass.” – Rev. 21:21



BIRTHSTONES

Many different versions of birthstones have been used throughout history and cultures, but in 1912 the American National Association of Jewelers adopted an official list. Some alternatives to the traditional stones have been adopted to be a less expensive substitute.

January 
   Birthstone 
      Garnet 
   Alternative 
      Rose Quartz
February 
   Birthstone 
      Amethyst 
   Alternative 
      Onyx 
March 
   Birthstone 
      Aquamarine 
   Alternative 
      Red Jasper (bloodstone)
April 
   Birthstone 
      Diamond 
   Alternative 
      Rock Crystal (Quartz) 
May 
   Birthstone 
      Emerald 
   Alternative 
      Chrysoprase 
June 
   Birthstone 
      Pearl 
   Alternative 
      Alexandrite or Moonstone 
July 
   Birthstone 
      Ruby 
   Alternative 
      Jade
August 
   Birthstone 
      Peridot 
   Alternative 
      Aventurine, sardonyx 
      or sapphire
September 
   Birthstone 
      Sapphire 
   Alternative 
      Lapis lazuli
October 
   Birthstone 
      Opal 
   Alternative 
      Pink Tourmaline
November 
   Birthstone 
      Yellow or Golden Topaz 
   Alternative 
      Citrine or Turquoise
December 
   Birthstone 
      Blue Zircon 
   Alternative 
      Blue Topaz, Turquoise 
      or Tanzanite

= = = = = =

BirthDAY (not birth) stones: 

Monday 
   Pearl
Tuesday 
   Garnet
Wednesday 
   Cat’s Eye 
   (Chatoyant Chrysoberyl)
Thursday 
   Emerald
Friday 
   Topaz
Saturday 
   Sapphire
Sunday 
   Ruby



BIRTH FLOWERS

January 
   Carnation or Snowdrop
February 
   Violet or Primrose
March 
   Jonquil or Violet
April 
   Daisy or Sweet Pea
May 
   Lily of the Valley or Hawthorne
June 
   Rose or Honeysuckle
July 
   Larkspur or Water Lily
August 
   Poppy or Gladiolus
September 
   Aster or Morning Glory
October 
   Calendula or Marigold
November 
   Chrysanthemum
December 
   Narcissus or Holly