Which religions don't celebrate birthdays? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-13-2009, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a new friend from the homeschooling community who's family doesn't celebrate birthdays. This was one of the factors in their decision to homeschool (as many schools make a big deal about students' birthdays in class.) I know they're Christians, and that they've attended large conventions of others with the same religious beleifs, but I'm not sure exactly which "branch" they belong to. I know J's witnesses don't celebrate birthdays, but I'm not sure if any other branches of Christianity share the no-birthday thing.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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Old 08-13-2009, 10:57 PM
 
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We have some neighbors that belong to a fundamentalist megachurch that doesn't celebrate birthdays. They aren't aligned with any denomination.
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Old 08-15-2009, 01:30 AM
 
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I had a colleague whose family did not celebrate birthdays or do the Santa Claus thing. They were Baptists/Evangelicalists (is that a word?) at core (I believe), but a very, very conservative offshoot. They homeschooled, the kids and wife wore modest clothes, etc. When I see the TV program with the 18 kids I always think of this family.

They didn't have a bricks and mortar church per se. Sometimes they rented out auditoriums, sometimes they worshipped in members' homes.

Hope this helps.
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Old 08-15-2009, 05:06 AM
 
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Are you sure it's a religious thing?

In my family, (I'm from Poland) we celebrate name days - not birthdays. The name day is the first Saint's day who shares your name after your birthday.

I think birthdays have gotten more popular in Poland now. But, in my family, we still stick to the name day tradition and avoid birthdays.

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Old 08-15-2009, 02:48 PM
 
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In my family, (I'm from Poland) we celebrate name days - not birthdays. The name day is the first Saint's day who shares your name after your birthday.
A lot of Orthodox families also keep name days instead of birthdays, except in most cases it is the feast day of a saint whose name the person has, not necessarily close to his day of birth. There is no actual religious ban on birthdays, though, and some celebrate both.
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Old 08-16-2009, 06:29 AM
 
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I am a muslim, and I would say muslims should not celebrate birthdays, but thats just my view though... I feel it is wrong to do it, islamically, allthough I know a lot of muslims do celebrate birthdays!

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Old 08-16-2009, 03:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are you sure it's a religious thing?

In my family, (I'm from Poland) we celebrate name days - not birthdays. The name day is the first Saint's day who shares your name after your birthday.

I think birthdays have gotten more popular in Poland now. But, in my family, we still stick to the name day tradition and avoid birthdays.
Yup, it's definitely a religious thing for them, and they don't celebrate name days instead. nor do they give gifts for Christmas. They don't have any gift-giving holidays AT ALL and they have so much less clutter than we do!

Also, they have a big problem with celebrating other people's birthdays, not just their own. A key reason to not use the public schools was the way they celebrate birthdays of all the kids in the class. If they celebrated their name days, they probably woudln't have a problem celebrating other kids' birthdays.

They came to visit the day after my birthday, and while I served them half a layer cake, I didn't specifically mention that it was my birthday cake! DD1 had written out "happy b-day mommy" in chocolate chips, not icing, and it was easy enough to fill in the top with more chocolate chips to make it look like there weren't any words there.

It does sound like there are a bunch of different religous sub-groups who don't celebrate birthdays, not just J's Witnesses.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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Old 08-16-2009, 03:10 PM
 
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What reason is there not to celebrate a bday?

 
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Old 08-16-2009, 03:13 PM
 
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I believe Jehovah Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays or holidays. It is my undertanding that they only celebrate Showers (baby/wedding) and wedding anniversaries.

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Old 08-16-2009, 08:14 PM
 
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as i understand it, celebrating birthdays is a glorification of self, which is a form of pride. which is, of course, a sin.

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Old 08-16-2009, 09:01 PM
 
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ah ok got it.

 
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Old 08-20-2009, 06:25 PM
 
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Technically the Catholic Church doesn't celebrate birthdays, except those of Jesus and Mary. The reason for this is because they believe babies and people who have not been baptized are not yet claimed for Christ. Because of original sin, pre-baptized people are technically under the grasp of satan. They celebrate the birth of Jesus because he was sinless, and was born without original sin. The same is believed of Mary. Oh... and John the Baptist... the Church celebrates his birthday because they believe that when he jumped in his mothers womb during Mary's visit, he was baptized by Christ, who was also in utero.

That being said, I don't think I have ever met a Catholic family that didn't celebrate birthdays. I have met families who name their kids after saints and do something special on the saints feast day.

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Old 08-20-2009, 07:26 PM
 
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I think the OP is referring to religious groups who don't allow the celebration of birthdays (those of the sect or Christ) at all.

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Old 08-21-2009, 05:30 PM
 
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Ruthla your mention of their attending large conventions, in addition to the celebration-free life style, makes me think they're JW.

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Old 08-22-2009, 11:40 AM
 
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I somewhat understand the rationale behind not celebrating birthdays. I've seen the scriptural quotes people use to support this belief. And I understand, "celebrating birthdays is a glorification of self, which is a form of pride. which is, of course, a sin."

I just don't understand the difference between celebrating a birthday and an anniversary or wedding? What's the difference?

I know a Jehovah's Witness woman who thinks it is abolutely horrific to recognize a child's birthday. But then she and her daughter splashed out about $50,000 on the daughter's wedding. I don't see the difference. Wedding may be considered a sacrament but how is spending $50K on a big white wedding not a "glorification of self"?

I just find this discrepancy a little hypocritcal. My son turns 6 and I make him a cake, give him two gifts and wish him Happy Birthday. That's it. How is that more sinful than a $50,000 wedding where the entire focus is on the couple all day, particularly the bride in white?

I'm not saying weddings are sinful. I just don't understand how someone can say a birthday celebration is scripturally wrong but an over-the-top wedding is not.
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Old 08-22-2009, 06:51 PM
 
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NAK'ing.
This thread explains why Witnesses don't celebrate birthdays.
http://www.mothering.com/discussions...ight=birthdays
It is more than the self glorification thing.

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Old 08-23-2009, 10:55 AM
 
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Thanks Pyrodjm for the link. I actually read that thread carefully many times and have been doing a Bible Teach study and asked my partner about this issue too. I am just confused or perhaps not satisfied with the answer. I've read the biblical stories, I understand why Christians choose not to celebrate birthdays. I just don't understand why the abstention pertains only to birthdays. Perhaps its just the individuals I've met. People are critizing my family for modestly celebrating our own children's birthdays. Fair enough, they decide not to do the same thing. But how can you say that spending over $50K for a wedding and also taking a day out of the year for each child to celebrate them (sounds like a birthday to me?) is not the same thing?

If I "cancelled" my kids' birthdays but picked random days for the same events and celebrations - isn't it the same thing?

I realize I'm confusing issues but I still don't understand why the weddings and anniversaries are "okay" but birthday is not.

I've no head for arguing or debating - it's not "my thing". I'm just saying I don't find a consistency in this rule.
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Old 08-24-2009, 10:30 AM
 
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Tuesday: I am just guessing, but maybe it's because a birthday celebrates an individual, whereas a wedding or anniversary celebrates a union of two people which is supposed to have been ordained by God.

This is a really interesting topic!

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Old 08-24-2009, 05:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My understanding is that it's fine to celebrate a wedding or a birth. What they don't celebrate is the ANNIVERSARIES of those events. The events themselves are worth celebrating- things that pretty much happen only once in a lifetime. I don't know how they'd respond to an invitation for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah- if they'd see that as a "coming of age celebration" and appropriate to attend, or as a "glorified birthday party" that isnt' appropriate to attend.

When my friends were over the day after my birthday, DD2 lost a baby tooth. She's 13 and it was her last baby tooth (as confirmed by the dentist at her last checkup.) My friend (the one who doesn't celebrate birthdays) was SO excited about that tooth! More so than I was even! So I think that maybe, by not celebrating "artificial" celebrations, they're more in tune with "natural" events that occur during your lifetime.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
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Old 08-25-2009, 01:40 AM
 
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There are Muslims who don't believe in celebrating anything that was not celebrated at the time of the Prophet Muhammad... which means the two Eids, plus weddings and baby-namings. However, there are many scholars who have also allowed cultual celebrations as long as their observance does not conflict with Islamic religious teachings, so you will see Muslims who do celebrate birthdays and Thanksgiving but not Christmas, Easter, or Halloween as these are holidays tied to specific religious observances of other religions.

FWIW, when I was in high school there were Jehovah's Witnesses in my school who didn't celebrate anything, birthdays included.
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Old 08-25-2009, 04:17 PM
 
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It certainly is an interesting topic. I didn't realize that there were so many religions that don't not celebrate birthdays.

Ruthla - I think you made a good point - the issue of the celebration of the anniversaries of the birth.
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Old 08-26-2009, 10:05 PM
 
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I somewhat understand the rationale behind not celebrating birthdays. I've seen the scriptural quotes people use to support this belief. And I understand, "celebrating birthdays is a glorification of self, which is a form of pride. which is, of course, a sin."

I just don't understand the difference between celebrating a birthday and an anniversary or wedding? What's the difference?

I know a Jehovah's Witness woman who thinks it is abolutely horrific to recognize a child's birthday. But then she and her daughter splashed out about $50,000 on the daughter's wedding. I don't see the difference. Wedding may be considered a sacrament but how is spending $50K on a big white wedding not a "glorification of self"?

I just find this discrepancy a little hypocritcal. My son turns 6 and I make him a cake, give him two gifts and wish him Happy Birthday. That's it. How is that more sinful than a $50,000 wedding where the entire focus is on the couple all day, particularly the bride in white?

I'm not saying weddings are sinful. I just don't understand how someone can say a birthday celebration is scripturally wrong but an over-the-top wedding is not.
Yep I agree with that being hypcritical. Not having a wedding feast but having an extravagant affair where focus is on the bride is out of tune with the principal of not glorifying self.

JWs often, you can read in a brochure they have intended as material for teachers of JW children, about how the only Bdays celebrated in the bible are of evildoers... That never made sense to me either
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My understanding is that it's fine to celebrate a wedding or a birth. What they don't celebrate is the ANNIVERSARIES of those events. The events themselves are worth celebrating- things that pretty much happen only once in a lifetime. I don't know how they'd respond to an invitation for a Bar or Bat Mitzvah- if they'd see that as a "coming of age celebration" and appropriate to attend, or as a "glorified birthday party" that isnt' appropriate to attend.

When my friends were over the day after my birthday, DD2 lost a baby tooth. She's 13 and it was her last baby tooth (as confirmed by the dentist at her last checkup.) My friend (the one who doesn't celebrate birthdays) was SO excited about that tooth! More so than I was even! So I think that maybe, by not celebrating "artificial" celebrations, they're more in tune with "natural" events that occur during your lifetime.
Its been 10 years and things with JWs change in terms of "lifestyle" doctrine so this may be wrong. But back in my day you could not attend any sort of celebration that was part of a pagan (non-JW) religion. So the Bar Mitzvah's out. I remember sneaking out to go to a friends funeral in a Catholic church in my 7th grade year. Got in trouble for it too.
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Old 10-12-2010, 09:54 PM
 
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My experience with JWs is that they do not attend other people's houses of worship. They will send a gift or attend a party afterwards to mark the event.
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Old 10-13-2010, 04:11 AM
 
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Wow, this thread is old....

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Old 10-13-2010, 04:20 AM
 
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BUT, it's so interesting and I didn't know that some religion didn't celebrate birthdays! I'm glad that this thread surfaced again.

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Old 10-13-2010, 11:07 PM
 
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I agree, it's interesting to see the different reason(ing)s for not celebrating birthdays.

Still, in the context of Christianity I'd consider it "going over the top". As opposed to "celebrating self" you could also focus on "being thankful for your life, family, friends, ...".

I can't really speak for other faiths, of course, but I'm friends with a "cultural Muslim" family in Germany (mom grew up Catholic) and they did celebrate birthdays.

More and more I get the impression that being "fundamentalist" (of whatever religion or conviction) seems to foster the attitude that anything with a chance of "being fun" is either "immoral", "sinful", "unhealthy", "wasteful", or "..." (fill with negative adjective of your choice) and therefore undesirable.

(Sorry for the snarkiness - but only a little. )

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Old 10-14-2010, 02:14 AM
 
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Yep. Old thread. Just wanted to say, though, that we have some friends who don't celebrate birthdays. They don't belong to a group that doesn't celebrate, though. In fact, they used to be part of our church, before they moved, and EVERYONE but them "did" birthdays.

So, maybe it's just their family, and not because of their religion...

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Old 10-18-2010, 12:11 AM
 
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I've recently become aware of JW's beliefs, as my ds plays with a little girl whose family is JW. They are very sweet, very aware of their dd's upbringing, and generally very conscious. As customary with their faith, they don't do bdays. They do have a big party for their anniversary, and shower their dd with gifts, and each other then, a lot like our xmas.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:12 PM
 
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Thumbs up Jw.org

Hi Moms, I'm a JW, and I really appreciate this thread!

The best way to find out about Bible viewpoints on anything and why JWs do or don't do certain things is to go to JW.org

In fact, go to "publications" and then click on "online library" and search
"Christmas" "birthdays" "easter" and "halloween"...to find out the
origins of holidays (you can also simply do google searches) but the JWs
have done all the research for you.

Incidentally, there is a vast amount of information there for youngsters, adolescents (like how to talk to your teenager etc) ... go to the search box and type in your question.

Also, sign language and about 180 languages are available...in addition, you can "hear" all the articles instead of reading them.

I use JW.org as a resource whenever the kids have an issue or a concern arises and I don't know how to handle or address it. The JWs are all about supporting families and people worldwide. PLease check out the site - also, if you have any questions please feel free to email me at [email protected]!

Warm regards,
Jackie

LIVE WELL LOVE MUCH LAUGH OFTEN
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Old 12-13-2014, 10:35 PM
 
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I understand that Jehovah Witnesses do NOT celebrate birthdays because in the Christian Bible, the ONLY time a birthday is mentioned is the birthday of Herod - his daughter does a dance for him for his birthday - he is so intrigued that he promises her anything she wants, and she wants the head of St. John the Baptist on a plate, and she gets it.

As for bar/bat mitzvah celebrations, Jehovah Witnesses do not go the house of worship of anyone other religion. They will give a gift or go to the home of a person for an after bar/bat mitzvah celebration. At least that has been my experience with my friends who are Jehovah Witnesses.

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