Sunday, June 10, 2007

Birthday Trivia on a Laid-Back Sunday

As you know, my Posts typically have insightful and relatively poignant messages. Today, however, I’m thinking and Posting outside the box.

My day began with a delightful breakfast with my brother and sister-in-law, George and Debbie, and dear friends, Doug and Susan, at a beach-side restaurant. Then we got on our Harleys and drove over the Skyway Bridge to a great little biker bar, Peggy’s Corral, just north of Sarasota. The wonderful live music and a couple of hundred bikers solving the world’s problems counterbalanced the heat and humidity. Most importantly, it was fun.

On my way home I stopped at Barnes and Noble and with a gift card purchased a new book – Michael Connelly’s latest novel, The Overlook (I love his adorable old sleuth, Harry Bosch). After enjoying phone calls from friends, my three children and three grandchildren and before heading out to the porch to listen to the dolphins blowing by and settling in to see what’s new with Harry (with the Braves/Cubs game on the tube of course), I thought I’d share seventeen silly and unnecessary pieces of Birthday Trivia with you:

1. It is customary in many cultures to celebrate the anniversary of one’s birthday, for example by having a birthday party with family and/or friends.

2. Today is or would have been the birthdays of some well-known people: Saul Bellow, novelist (1915), Judy Garland, actress (1922), and Tara Lipinski, figure skater (1982).

3. It is thought that the large-scale celebration of birthdays in Europe began with the cult of Mithras, which originated in Persia but was spread by soldiers throughout the Roman Empire.

4. Birthday celebrations were rare during the Middle Ages but saw a resurgence with the advent of the Reformation. During this period, they were seen as a good way to transfer customs from the saint’s days to other dates not linked to the newly repudiated veneration of saints.

5. Today, the celebration of birthdays is not universal in the West; in addition to those people preferring name day celebrations, Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate either, considering their origins to be pagan festivals along with Christmas and Easter.

6. Some adults loathe celebrating it as it reminds them that they are getting progressively older.

7. In most English-speaking countries it is traditional to sing the song Happy Birthday to You to the honored person celebrating his birthday. The Happy Birthday Song melody is thought to be the most frequently sung melody in the world.

8. The birthday cake is traditionally highly decorated, and typically covered with lit candles when presented; the number of candles often equals the age of the person. Birthday cakes have been a tradition dating back as far as the Middle Ages when the English would conceal symbolic items such as gold coins, rings and thimbles inside their cakes. Each item was associated with a prediction. For example, a person finding a gold coin in a birthday cake would supposedly become wealthy where a person discovering a thimble would never marry (Ouch!).

9. Notable birthdays tend to include when the most significant digit changes, for example one's 1st, 10th, 15th, 30th, 50th, or 100th birthdays, as well as significant years such as the 18th (UK and US legal adult age), and 21st (US alcoholic beverage drinking age).

10. In most legal systems, one becomes a legal adult on a particular birthday, and at different ages gain different rights and responsibilities — voting, certain drug use (for example, alcohol, purchasing tobacco), eligibility for military draft or voluntary enlistment, purchasing lottery tickets, etc.

11. Most cultures have one or more coming of age birthdays. For example, Jewish boys have a bar mitzvah on or around their 13th birthday. Jewish girls observe a bat mitzvah on or around their 12th birthday, or sometimes on or around their 13th birthday in Reform and Conservative Judaism.

13. In some Christian traditions, generally Catholic and Anglican, Confirmation is the ritual by which a young person becomes an official member of the Church. This sometimes includes the bestowal of a “Confirmation name,” generally the name of a saint, which is often worn as a second middle name.

14. In Latin America the quinceañera celebration traditionally marks a girl’s 15th birthday.

15. Some girls and a few boys in the United States have “sweet sixteen” birthday parties.

16. The most common birthday in the USA is October 5, whereas the least common birthday is May 22.

17. All racehorses traditionally celebrate their birthday on (that is, calculate their age in years from) 1 August in the Southern Hemisphere, and on 1 January in the Northern Hemisphere. (I can’t believe Curlin didn’t win the Preakness yesterday!)

No, I did not put my bike down and hit my head, nor did I have too many beers at Peggy’s. Trust me, my next Post will return to what is my norm – today I just decided to give myself permission to be a little silly. Today’s my birthday.



Mostly Happy Thoughts said...

Happy Birthday Bill!! It sounds like you had a wonderful day.

I loved the post :)


Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hello MHT,
Thank you -- it was a wonderful day (spending time doing what I wanted to do and doing it with people important to me).
Glad you liked the Post... maybe on occasion I will "think outside the box" again.
Ciao for now,

Anonymous said...

Hi Bill, I got a kick out of your birthday day. If you would not mind I want to use the most/least birthday dates on my website. I'll give you credit for it. It's a non scam site with birthday fun.

Celest Benn

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hello Celest,
Thanks for stopping by and your nice words regarding my Post. It truly was a great day!
I just looked at your website -- nice! I am touched that you will be using some of the data from my Post and crediting me (nice touch!).
Thanks again, Celest... and please know that I would enjoy a return visit -- come back again,

Anonymous said...

Happy Happy Day! It's wonderful that you had such an enjoyable day. I love it when I have a day like just makes the yucky ones so much more bearable. I wish you many more birthdays and happy days! You can think "outside the box" anytime and I will enjoy it just as much.


Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Andie,
Thank you for your wonderful words... it was a wonderful Birthday. And as I said on your blog a few minutes ago, "I love the old axiom... 'Be careful where you want to go... you already may be there!"
With a hug back a ya,

Julia Phillips Smith said...

Amazing about the most common/uncommon birth dates. I never would have guessed either of them.

Glad your birthday was a great day!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hello Julia,
Yes, it was a great day... and thank you for your warm and kind wishes.
I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed some of the trivia... fascinating in many ways.
Thanks for stopping by... I hope to see you again some time down the road,

Anonymous said...

Happy belated birthday Bill! I was clever enough to figure out it was your birthday before the end of the post! ;)
Looks like you have a handle on what's important in life - I loved the post.
Wishing you many more!

PS one of my best friends lives in Sarasota!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Nienke,
Thanks for the Birthday wishes... and as I see, you saw where I was going with it. Thanks for the kind comment... at least I think I have my priorities in order. I just try to control those things I can, and...
I love Sarasota! But like most of the beach communities in Florida, it's growing UP -- literally. You do know that the state bird in Florida is the Construction Crane.
Thanks again...
With a few xo's back at ya,

Bailey Stewart said...

Happy belated birthday Bill! Sounds like you had a lot of fun.

The birthday trivia was interesting. Thanks for sharing.

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Thanks for the Birthday wishes... yes, it was a great day. Tonight I pitched a good softball game in the St. Petersburg Men's League... I guess you're only as old as you feel. (Just don't ask me how I feel when I wake up tomorrow morning though!)
Glad you enjoyed the trivia.
Ciao for now,

Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

Wishing you belated birthday wishes, Bill!

Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Kelly,
Thanks for the visit and especially the well-wishes!

Cole Reising said...

Happy Birthday Bill! Sorry it took me so long to drive on by and find out! :) And I liked the 'unusual post' by the way.

Sounds like you had a good one!


Dr. Bill Emener said...

Hi Cole,
Thanks for the belated Birthday Wishes... truly glad you stopped by. Hey, it's summer... more things to do -- outside! I suspect that between now and when it cools down and the days get shorter, many of us will not be as punctual and generally active on the internet as we typically are.
Thanks again!