What a very dangerous question to ask… “Why?”
I don’t understand how my weird brain works, but sometimes I get digging down a rabbit trail of why’s like I am a toddler. This morning was no different.
The question at hand: “Why do we celebrate birthdays?”
Simple non-exhaustive Google research will get you to the answers. My briefest version of a summary is that it started with the Egyptians, where there pharaohs were believed to be gods, and so their births were celebrated. There is more to the story if you want to geek out like I did here. You can even go into the Bible in Genesis 40:20 to see where it talks about celebrating a birthday of a pharoah.
That led me on the trail of “Where did Christmas really start? You know, if we are celebrating Jesus’ Birthday…” That is an even more interesting trail to hop down… I somehow missed hearing about Saturnalia which is a crazy forerunner to our modern Christmas, that loosely connects some of the dots to some not so obvious traditions we observe around the season of Christmas… and most interestingly, the similarities of what was the commercialization of this holiday and it going on for longer than appropriated… well, I guess the saying about history repeating itself might just have some credence here…
The story of how Christians tried to overlay Christmas on Saturnalia is a strange metamorphosis, and again it explains some of what seems like out of place traditions that we still hold on to… You can read more about that here.
I guess the real question that needs answered for each of us is…
Why do you/I celebrate Christmas?
Why do I give gifts? Why do I decorate? Why do I take time off of work? Why do I spend time with family?
and more importantly, Why do I celebrate Jesus’ birth? if the origins of birthdays have to do with celebrating the birth of a god, well then, I guess the case is closed here… because with Jesus’ birth we have reason to celebrate the birth of GOD.