What’s a birthday?

To some people, birthdays don’t matter — they see a birthday as just another day in their lives. This makes sense; after all, what’s the difference between a birthday and any other day?

To me, a birthday can be an excuse for making someone feel important and special — just for that day. (Pity those who are born on 29th February — it’s as if they’re only one-fourth as important and special as others).

A birthday is very personal, as opposed to the communal religious holidays or national holidays that are observed (and possibly celebrated) with fellow adherents or citizens. Birthdays are unique to every person (although not absolutely unique –more than one persons can have the same birthday). Saying “happy birthday” to a person is much more personal than saying “happy holiday” during the person’s observed holy day. Remembering a person’s birthday takes more effort than just remembering a commonly celebrated holiday.

It follows that receiving a birthday wish can make a person feel important or special because it shows that people care enough about him or her, regardless of whether he or she expected to be recognized or not. Likewise, if you want to show someone that you respect or care about him/her, give him/her a birthday message. It could be as simple as calling or greeting in person; sending a text message, email or some other form of electronic communication; or you can show your attention by giving gifts — your wallet is the boundary.

So, what’s a birthday? While it’s not mandatory to celebrate or even remember, on the other hand it’s a day when you can make someone feel special and important; that you respect or care about the person. Try to remember the birthdays of people who matters to you — your family, relatives, friends, colleagues, work mates, clients — and send them timely birthday wishes.

If you’re having your birthday, just keep an open mind. People may or may not know your birthday; they might know but forgot or don’t realize it, so don’t expect to get too much attention on that day. However, to those who give you birthday wishes — or even go to the full extent of arranging a party for you — you should appreciate their attention. Even if they got your birth date wrong — it still take some effort from them to send you a birthday wish.

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