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Birthdays?

WillowberryWillowberry Explorer
edited March 2011 in Buddhism Basics

Do Buddhist celebrate birthdays?

If you do not exactly "celebrate" it, what do you do to acknowledge your childrens or loved ones day of birth?

Comments

  • why would buddhists not celebrate birthdays?!
  • I am not sure... it feels selfish... however it may be expectations surrounding it like presents, birthday wishes & cake etc. Almost feeling more important or special for a day, I didnt know if that contradicted anything.

    I am still very new to buddhism

    :)
  • as long as you don't get drunk or something like that, it is fine.
  • I am a buddhist, and I celebrate my birthday. There are buddhist marriages and funerals, many many holidays in the buddhist calendar. But do monks and nuns celebrate their birthdays, I honestly do not know.
  • Ha :) too pregnant for all that Im afraid.

    Thanks for your help Vincenzi!
  • But do monks and nuns celebrate their birthdays, I honestly do not know.
    Good question!
  • I'm not a buddhist and I don't really celebrate my birthday. But my family usually does so in my stead...
  • I too do not celebrate my birthdays neither does my husband, we are trying to decide how to approach our daughters birthdays, she is still young enough to have no impressions of what it should be like.

    I do not want to make it about getting things, and was curious about how others celebrate theres.
  • VincenziVincenzi Veteran
    edited March 2011
    what do people celebrate, that a year ended or starting a new year of life?
    I am a buddhist, and I celebrate my birthday. There are buddhist marriages and funerals, many many holidays in the buddhist calendar. But do monks and nuns celebrate their birthdays, I honestly do not know.
    AFAIK, there's no ritual of marriage in Buddhism.
  • yes there is, I live in thailand I have seen buddhist marriages. Ajahn Brahm himself has spoken of when he has lead a funeral and has spoken at a wedding...
  • To me celebrating my birthday is kind of a little commemoration for surviving another year.
    The_Dharma_Farmer
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited March 2011

    Do Buddhist celebrate birthdays?

    If you do not exactly "celebrate" it, what do you do to acknowledge your childrens or loved ones day of birth?
    Most Buddhists I know do. The Thais have an especially interesting tradition where the person whose birthday it is shows their gratitude for life by giving gifts to others instead of vice versa.

  • TalismanTalisman Veteran
    edited March 2011
    I think it's worth celebrating the fact that you were able to cling to a relatively tiny rock hurling through space as it revolves around a burning ball of fire 1,000,000 times its size. Happy Birthday!!
    The_Dharma_FarmerhowmisterCopeMichaelS

  • Do Buddhist celebrate birthdays?

    If you do not exactly "celebrate" it, what do you do to acknowledge your childrens or loved ones day of birth?
    At least celebrate this for your children.

    What do you think all the religious rituals are?

    Tradition and at the same time making people content and at peace.
  • I hate a catholic religion / don’t mistake this for teaching of Jesus/.

    Christmas is still magical time for me and my children.

    Why to deprive myself of ritual, folklore and tradition?

    They all play important part in our lives?
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    what do people celebrate, that a year ended or starting a new year of life?
    AFAIK, there's no ritual of marriage in Buddhism.
    In Tibet, marriage was a civil matter, not a religious one.

  • CloudCloud Veteran
    edited March 2011
    It's not like if something isn't in Buddhism, it's just not done... celebrating birthdays has nothing to do with religion. It's more a tradition. Rather than selfish, it's more selfless. Lots of people expressing their bond with a friend/family member (etc.), the giving of gifts, making that one person the center of attention instead of themselves for a day. Sure the person whose birthday it is may be selfish, may want a big party and more attention than normal... ;)
    MichaelS
  • nice way to look at it cloud
  • WillowberryWillowberry Explorer
    edited March 2011
    Ok I see, and it all seems logical.
    Its my daughter bday today and we did make it special, cake, presents etc... its was the day she made me a Mum and they day I laid my eyes on her, how can I not celebrate it :)

    Though it has raised another question for me....

    Do you celebrate Xmas?
    MichaelS
  • lol, I do because it is a chance to give to my family friends and others. I enjoy spending money on them and seeing them smile when they open their presents. I have celebrated it before being a buddhist, (never was I christian however) so it is just the norm... I would seem like a scrooge if I did not and I prefer to make those close to me happy, so yes I do
    MichaelS
  • GuyCGuyC Veteran
    edited March 2011
    Hi Willow,

    I think that if you want to celebrate your birthday in a Buddhist way one thing that you could do is to reflect on the past years and see how much you have changed (reflection on impermanence and non-self) and also recall the good kamma you have done throughout the year that has just gone by and if you feel inclined to do so you can share the merit with all sentient beings. You could recall your parents and the great gift of life that they have given you.

    If you think it is selfish to receive gifts on this day then turn the tables, go and volunteer for a day or donate some goods or money to charity. But there's no reason Buddhists can't eat some cake once a year with the ones they love. And, if your friends and relatives want to give you a gift, don't deny them their opportunity to express their love to you.

    Metta,

    Guy
    The_Dharma_Farmer
  • I recognize my birthday but I'm not a huge fan of party's so I don't really celebrate it in the traditional sense, but I always go out to a nice resturant with my family. I celebrate Christmas since my family is catholic, but I see it much as the Japanese do, a commercial holiday. Also that you spend alot of time with your extended family.
  • why would buddhists not celebrate birthdays?!
    Ah, but do they celebrate rebirthdays? :)
    Bunks
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    that would be the same thing...... wouldn't it...?

    By the way, mine's in 5 days.... no chocolates please. Or flowers.
    unless it's a Lotus.




    (preferably black, with 4 wheels..... :D )
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran
    Part of a parent's job is to help shape a child's ego. Part of the process is sometimes-you're-the-center-of-attention-sometimes-you're-not. A day/time that is 'your' day/time, whether elaborate or simple, strikes me as a good idea, irrespective of philosophical or religious ground rules.
  • I hate a catholic religion / don’t mistake this for teaching of Jesus/.

    Christmas is still magical time for me and my children.

    Why to deprive myself of ritual, folklore and tradition?

    They all play important part in our lives?
    I don't know if someone already said this, but Christmas, as well as many other 'Christianized' holidays are in fact, INCREDIBLY Pagan. I don't think that there is anything wrong with celebrating holidays, as long as you are being truly appreciative of those you love, and compassionate. :)
  • why would buddhists not celebrate birthdays?!
    Ah, but do they celebrate rebirthdays? :)
    THIS IS THE BEST THING EVER! <3
  • I hate a catholic religion / don’t mistake this for teaching of Jesus/.

    Christmas is still magical time for me and my children.

    Why to deprive myself of ritual, folklore and tradition?

    They all play important part in our lives?
    I don't know if someone already said this, but Christmas, as well as many other 'Christianized' holidays are in fact, INCREDIBLY Pagan. I don't think that there is anything wrong with celebrating holidays, as long as you are being truly appreciative of those you love, and compassionate. :)
    Yea I agree with the pagan part. It's funny when you tell a Christian the truth about it being a pagan holiday for the winter solstice and they deny it.
  • I don't see anything special in birthdays. My soul has gone through thousands or even millions of birthdays in previous incarnations and maybe will go through even more. Humanity goes through 6 billion birthdays every year o.O
    For me it's just another normal day, blessed by the Unknown. But I have friends and family that want to honour it, so I honour them by allowing it to happen. That's my take on birthdays.
  • I too do not celebrate my birthdays neither does my husband, we are trying to decide how to approach our daughters birthdays, she is still young enough to have no impressions of what it should be like.

    I do not want to make it about getting things, and was curious about how others celebrate theres.
    I'm surprised someone would consider denying their child a birthday celebration (and people say Buddhism isn't Puritanical!) What's going to happen when she's school-age and gets invited to other children's parties? It seems cruel not to include her in this tradition. Sorry, but that's my frank opinion. She doesn't have to get showered with gifts; maybe one special gift would be enough, along with some fun activities.

    Kundo

  • I'm surprised someone would consider denying their child a birthday celebration (and people say Buddhism isn't Puritanical!) What's going to happen when she's school-age and gets invited to other children's parties? It seems cruel not to include her in this tradition. Sorry, but that's my frank opinion. She doesn't have to get showered with gifts; maybe one special gift would be enough, along with some fun activities.

    Being raised in JW families we didnt notice the impact of missing out ourselves, as they do not celebrate xmas or bdays. I went to a normal school but never felt left out for not having a party on my birthday. I still had parties for fun at my place which was pretty similar and I received presents from family members, but all throughout the year as a pose to one select day.

    As it has not been a tradition for myself of my partner, that is why we are questioning it for our children.




  • I don't see anything special in birthdays. My soul has gone through thousands or even millions of birthdays in previous incarnations and maybe will go through even more. Humanity goes through 6 billion birthdays every year o.O
    For me it's just another normal day, blessed by the Unknown. But I have friends and family that want to honour it, so I honour them by allowing it to happen. That's my take on birthdays.
    Beautifully written, I like your take on birthdays

    :)
  • DakiniDakini Veteran
    edited April 2011
    Willowberry, your question makes a lot more sense once you explained your JW background. Very interesting experience, thanks for sharing. But I think if you choose not to do the birthday tradition, it shouldn't be because of Buddhism, but because of your positive experience in your JW youth. Buddhists celebrate birthdays. And I like your take on the fact that it's as much a celebration for you, and the giving of birth, creation of life, as it is a celebration for your daughter. Sounds like a win-win situation. :)

    I stopped celebrating Christmas, because it just isn't relevant to my life. I go to the Native American communities near where I live to enjoy the Winter ceremonies there, instead. If I had kids, I don't know if I'd celebrate Christmas. I always viewed Christmas in a secular way, as celebrating brotherly love, or something, so maybe I would. Easter is the one I can't get my mind around. Aside from the obvious association with Spring fertility rites (egg hunts, bunnies), Jesus rising from the dead? Not buying it.
  • edited August 2013
    Hi guys - loving the thread. I feel it's important to be aware of our cultural conditioning as well as our samskarik formations (learned acts of will/habits etc). I am aware that I can feel like I am the centre of the universe at the best of times, so I try and put on a charity fundraising gig so it can be all about me AND raising money for a worthy cause (Young Indian Futures, this year) lol! ;-)

    For me my birthday and NYE at the big "reflection events" for me... Bookmarks in time where, with a sense of kindness, I can examine the previous 12 months and ask where I got it right, and where I can improve - here's a clue, column "B" will seem longer at first, but persevere... ;-)

    I have celebrated christmas for the last few years by asking friends and family to donate money to their charity of choice and pop the receipt in a card with the amount hidden from me.

    I posted this a while back re: Buddhist Christmas, which may be of interest. I offer humbly and give up without regard any merit gained in my acting thus, for the benefit of alls sentient beings...

    youtube.com/watch?v=Gs3-3p93luQ&noredirect=1

    In Metta,

    Jay
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    Maybe this got answered somewhere back along this thread but many Buddhist monks don't pay as much attention to their birthday as they do for their ordination date. A question of priorities.
    But....
    Any celebration is just as Dharmically illuminating as one is willing to let it be.
    MichaelS
  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran
    Namaste,

    I have always celebrated my birthday, especially the milestone ones (16, 18, 21, 30) I never really paid THAT much attention to it. But now that I am terminally ill, you can bet you your butt I will be celebrating each one. Especially since I was diagnosed a few weeks before my birthday this year. That aside, I don't think marking the occasion is a bad thing.

    Depending on the age of your child, you could just have a modest meal and acknowledge the day and how great their birth was and how happy you are they are in your lives. Like @compassionate_warrior said, just a small token to mark the day should suffice. You don't have to buy extravagant gifts.

    In metta,
    Raven
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    You can also buy gifts that are actual useful in their lives (kids or adults). Just because it's a holiday or birthday doesn't mean you have to buy 12 presents because they point at the tv and say they want them. Gifts for my oldest, for example, often include items he needs because he is on the ski team, or new shoes, or new pants, and so on. That's more what we concentrate on most of the time.
  • I am a quarter of a century old on the 5th of September! I normally make no fuss about my bday as it is juts another day. Although I find out I am born on the same day as Jesse James!! lol, long live the bandit and crime spree folk! Only joking, I am not down with crime sprees, but my star sign is all about connecting with the world and mother nature, I can relate to that, thank you NB for 3+ years :):D -xx-
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