Coming of Age
It's that time of year again, the time when everyone is celebrating…you! It's your birthday, and it's time to celebrate. Some adults don't like to celebrate their birthdays because they do not like getting older, despite all of the presents and treats. But most kids love celebrating their special day with friends and family.
Everyone deserves to be treated specially on his or her birthday. Many families have traditions for birthday celebrations. Here are some common birthday rituals that you may or may not know about. Either way, they are fun ways to make someone feel extra special and loved:
- Birthday parties. These don't need much explanation, but usually they occur on or near the actual birth date and are a fun gathering with family and friends.
- Giving gifts to the person celebrating a birthday. Gifts don't have to be large. A small or handmade present can be very meaningful.
- A birthday cake. There are many different varieties, and you can even create your own with different flavors and frostings. Ask an adult to help you (link to safety in the kitchen).
- Birthday candles. Count out enough candles to equal the person's new age and put them on the cake. Often, people add two more candles: one for luck and one to grow on. If someone is getting older or has a small cake, you can also get number candles to spell out their age. If someone is turning 57, for example, you don't need to light 59 candles. Instead, you could light four: One shaped like the number five, one shaped as a seven, and two regular candles for luck and to grow on.
- Singing "Happy Birthday." This is a common tradition in America. This song is usually sung while the candles are being lit on the birthday cake.
- A birthday wish. After the candles are lit and everyone has finished singing "Happy Birthday," the birthday girl or boy silently makes a wish before blowing out the candles. According to tradition, if they say their wish out loud, it will not come true. The wish will only come true if they blow out all of the candles in one breath!
- Surprise parties. These can be a lot fun, but make sure everyone keeps it a secret.
- Cards. Whether you buy one or make your own, cards are an inexpensive way to celebrate.
- Party favors. These don't have to be expensive or a big production. Local drug stores or grocery stores have large packs of candy that you can include. Try making jewelry or friendship bracelets for your friends or include other inexpensive items from party stores.
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Ways to Celebrate
Ways to get involved on your birthday or someone else's:
- Plan a party for yourself—make sure everything goes your way
- Ask your family if you could help cook a special meal for your birthday
- Cook the birthday girl or boy their favorite meal (link to safety in the kitchen) with the help of an older sibling or adult
- Plan a surprise party for one of your friends
- Make a homemade card for someone
Your birthday is the day to celebrate you, so don't let anything get in the way of that. Have a Happy Birthday!
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Author: Julia Ransohoff, high school student writer