In the Eastern Orthodox tradition, we don’t celebrate birthdays so much as namedays. By celebrating the feast day of the saint we are named after, we bring to mind the struggle of the saint and how with God’s grace they were able to overcome all they were faced with for the glory of God. Because we are celebrating Christ’s image in their lives, namedays are Christocentric. Traditionally, the person celebrating their name day (or their family if they are still a child) offer small gifts and hospitality to all who come to wish them well for their name day.
Birthdays, on the other hand, are all about us. It is about people giving us gifts and celebrating our lives. Thus, birthdays are very egocentric.
It should be pretty obvious which of these two is most appropriate for the benefit of our souls.
…of all the holy people in the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have kept a feast or held a great banquet on his birthday. It is only sinners (like Pharaoh and Herod) who make great rejoicings over the day on which they were born into this world below (Origen, in Levit., Hom. VIII, in Migne P.G., XII, 495)
I have never understood this argument. It is quite common in the JW religion. It makes no sense to me to think that people did not celebrate birthdays. Especially in Jewish culture where many many rules were made to decide what could or could not be celebrated.
We know that the Jews of the Bible including Jesus marked milestones in life. We know that they were circumcised at an interval of time after their birth. We know that there was an “age of reason” and that there was a jewish prayer thanking God for relieving fathers of the responsibility of the child. That day was usually about 20 years old. We also know that even though a Bar Mitzvah was established later that there were celebrations in the lives of Jewish people.
We know that people in the Bible were human and had human emotions. we know that Mary experienced great joy when her baby was born as did all mothers throught all time. The idea that birthdays were not celebrated in these households is not only odd but has no basis in history or anthropology.
It would seem that if God had not wanted birthdays to be celebrated he would have had to expalin that pretty explicitly. Not only that but it would seem to fly in the face of current feast days and even Christmas itself. But this is the time of year when these kind of oddities about “early christians” (whatever that means) and “in the Bible” (whatever that means get a personal spin put on them by seemingly every “expert” there is.:rolleyes:
i’ts not my conclusion, it’s other people’s accusations. that birthday celebrations stem from paganism. and i doubt that the early christians really did celebrate their birthdays, they generally regarded their day of death as better because it was their birth in to heaven.