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By Ralph SeeramThe world was reminded this week that it was 50 years ago that the late President John F Kennedy was assassinated. The 50th anniversary of his death dominated the news last Friday. For me it was no news.I was reminded every year for the last 50 years that Kennedy was killed on my birthday. So it was last Friday November 22, when I added another year to my thankful life on earth, that I wondered why is it important to be reminded of your birthday; why is it important to observe or celebrate birthdays; why do we do it, where did it start and when did the gift part become part of the celebration?Personally,Cheap Jordan Shoes For Sale, I think it was a moment to reflect on your life,Nike Air Max Zero Mens, reflect on the past year, on what have I achieved or not achieved. Did I move forward? Did I reach any of my goals? And the list can go on. But I do think it should be a symbolic passing of time. It also makes me sad.I realize that there are some who celebrated with me in the past but are not around anymore. There is always the uncertainty of whether you will be around to celebrate another year; you cannot help thinking of that.But did it really start that way,Nike Shox Gravity, where and when did the candle and the cake became part of the celebration?The tradition probably goes back to the ancient Egyptians who celebrated their Pharaoh’s “birth”. It was not their actual birthday but the day they were crowned as Pharaoh, which was regarded as their “birth as a god”.The Greek is said to have taken it a little further as celebration to their “gods” that round birthday cake is said to have emanated from them, they offer a round cake in the shape of a moon to their lunar goddess, Artemis, and to reflect her beauty they added lighted candles, so you can see her beauty.So far we have the observance,Air Max 97, the cake and the candle, but you will notice it was only for the “gods” not humans. So when did humans become part of the celebrations?It is believed that the trend started with ancient Romans,China Jerseys Wholesale, who not only started to celebrate birthdays of popular public figures but also the common man, with emphasis on Man (Sorry ladies, the ancients did not think you existed until about a thousand years ago when ladies were allowed to celebrate their birthdays.)For the church these celebrations did not go down well with them. The churches regarded the celebrations as a pagan ritual until around the 4th century when they started celebrating the birthday of Christ as a holiday for Christmas. Mind you, the church by accepting the birthday ritual, hoped to boost its “flocks” with these “pagans”It was probably the Germans in the late 18th century who kind of formalized the birthday party for kids starting age one, a candle was placed on the cake for each year of the child plus a symbolic one of hope for the coming year. The hope is that the child lived to the next birthday.But there was a little problem for the masses, especially those down the economic ladder. That birthday cake was expensive for the ordinary man and I should say, woman.So how did the common folk get to join in the celebration? Well the industrial revolution changed that. Mass production of cakes brought down the prices and made it available to the “common man”. For Guyana we know it was done from scratch.How many of you recall beating the eggs and sugar for mom,Nike Air Max 2018 Shoes, so you can get the scrapings from the bowl?I really can’t say when the gift giving came into the celebration, but I rather believe that was engineered by stores to drum up business. The way it is now, you feel guilty if you do not buy a gift or card. It’s a must, not to mention the gift bags and wrappings to go with it, which really adds up to a good “small piece”I must admit I take the coward’s way out of giving gifts; I just give cash so the person can do their own shopping.Recently in the Diaspora and even in Guyana (among the new rich) they have been adopting what is essentially a Spanish tradition of celebrating sweet fifteen or sixteen birthdays as if their daughter was getting married.I am not sure what the significance of this is “sweet sixteen” birthday party. Is it a coming off of age? Is it a signal that she can officially date and have boyfriends? Is it an indirect message that she can now officially start having sex, I really don’t know, maybe someone of my readers knows the answer.And oh that Happy Birthday Song! It did not start out that way at all. It was written around 1893, as a children song named “Good Morning to All’ and was sung in schools in the US before classes started.In the 1920’s a Mr. Robert Coleman is said to have made some changes in the lyrics to what we all sing today Happy Birthday.So if your birthdays is today a Happy Birthday to you and please ask yourself what this milestone is all about.Ralph Seeram can be reach at email: [email protected]

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