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3 reasons to celebrate your birthday

Feb 02, 2024 09:34AM ● By Holly Curby


The ancient Egyptians initiated them, the Greeks added their flare to them with the radiance of the candle along with its wish, the ancient Romans brought them to the commoner, the Germans added the cake, and even a song was written in the 1800s for the occasion. In America we celebrate them—for ourselves, for celebrities, for our nation—we even designate national holidays for them.

There are many cultural differences in how birthdays are celebrated too. From the piñata and high-end quinceanera celebrations in Mexico, the custom of throwing yourself a party in Norway and the Netherlands, celebrating certain years according to the Chinese calendar in China (1st, 10th, 60th, 70th, and 80th birthdays), designating the first slice of cake in honor of the person in the room who is most important in the birthday person’s life as in Brazil, to even measuring one’s life by their kindness vs. years in Bhutan, Birthdays are a celebration of life and love. 

However, not everyone is into feeling the observation, warmth, and power of celebrating their birthday. To those, might we unwrap a few reminders as to the reasons why birthdays are to be celebrated:

1) Celebrating our day of birth allows us to reflect on life. The good, the bad, the ugly. To see where we've been, and how far we've come. Our trials and our triumphs. Our hills and our valleys. To think of the blessings from within the past year. The accomplishments that have taken place and even some goal setting for the year ahead. Yes to reflect on a life given, a life living, a life still to be lived.

2) Celebrating our day of birth allows us to gather with others such as our friends, and our family—those who matter to us. This could be a party like often done for kids, or even an opportunity to serve. When my mom turned forty our church congregation came over to our new house to help us lay sod. The pandemic created some unique ways of gathering with others for celebrations such as car parades in front of the birthday person’s home or social distancing BBQs. Oh, the gift of others in our lives. The gift to gather together.

3) Celebrating your day of birth allows you to be reminded that you matter. Not everyone is good about accepting compliments, gifts, or even attention. This one day allows others to do such things for the birthday person who often is a little more receptive to such acts. Whether we realize it or not, we need the encouragement. 

A perspective shared in the Stanford Daily stated that a birthday is "A celebration of the sacrifices the parents had to work through, up to and including the immense loss of time, energy, and perhaps a career’s forward trajectory." Celebrating our birthday helps us take a moment to reflect on our lives, the sacrifices that have been made on our behalf to get us to where we are at, and perhaps think of what we may want to accomplish in the year ahead. So, this next birthday, instead of pulling a bah-humbug attitude, might we blow out the candles on our cake, surrounded by loved ones, and press into the unique sense of joy, laughter, and love as your friends and family choose to celebrate you?

Want to learn more about intentionally living a life full of purpose? Visit or check out Holly’s Highlights podcast. Holly’s Highlights podcast is available wherever you listen to podcasts including Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, and even “Alexa, play Holly’s Highlights podcast.”λ