Worldview on Birthdays

Some religions do not believe in the celebration and people in some walks of life have no cause for such a celebration.

Some families or cultures celebrate their special day in a very different way to other families or cultures.

This grubby group seem to have had a paint party!

Would tribal people celebrate birthdays? It might hurt them to remember that another year has gone by without their loved ones around to watch them grow and develop.

Or would it help the person to have a sense of continuity in an otherwise unstable, alien world? The yearly celebration might be a link in to the world that has been left behind.


This is a bit of a shady area as some ancient cultures (such as the Egyptians and the Romans) did celebrate birthdays in a loose kind of way. That is, they celebrated certain rulers’ birthdays as well as the birthdays of buildings or important events. This type of celebration often involved dancing, lots of food and circuses or other forms of entertainment.

In other cultures, the birthdays of Kings, Queens, Emperors and other nobility were celebrated in much the same fashion.

Birthday parties seem to have first started in pagan times in Europe. These people feared evil spirits and wanted to keep them at bay. So they gathered on friends’ birthdays to share good wishes and offer gifts to the birthday gal or guy in hope that this would ward off any evil ghosties that might otherwise take control.

More painting fun…would you do this at a party?

These parties developed in to the kind of celebrations we know of today and ‘proper’ parties as we understand them, are said to have started in Germany. This was also the birthplace of the birthday cake, which came in to being around 200 years ago. The cake was probably made because there was little money around to buy presents in those days. Old-style cakes would have been made of dough and then developed to fruitcake before they became the iced sponge cakes or other chocolate delights we know and love today.
The habit of blowing out the candles on the cakes in order to make a wish come true originated from the tradition of people praying over the flames of a fire in order to ward off those evil spirits. The people thought that the smoke would carry the prayers up to the gods.


Patsy had a surprise party thrown for her birthday in series one but did not react quite as the others thought she would.

Instead of being excited and happy about things, Patsy was upset because it reminded her too much that her whole family was gone. Everything that meant anything to her had been torn apart following the outbreak of the virus. She was more or less alone in this New World and did not feel that there was any reason for celebration.

Of course Patsy was also worried about getting older because at that stage there was no antidote for the dreaded virus and every birthday for Patsy reminded her that she was one step closer to contracting the virus.

Nice way to spend your birthday!

Next week we take a look at the different traditions surrounding birthdays throughout the world and how to say “Happy Birthday” in different languages.