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Author Topic: Birthdays as Holy Days  (Read 2708 times)

Aisling

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Birthdays as Holy Days
« on: July 08, 2012, 11:24:49 am »
A friend recently put forth an interesting idea - that she celebrates her birthday as a holy/feast day.  The occasion is marked with offerings and prayers of thanks to her deities, a specially prepared meal shared with others of a similar path, and various rituals of self purification and celebration.  

Does anyone else do this or something similar?  Any thoughts on the celebration of one's own birthday as something sacred or holy?  

I'm still chewing on this idea and still working out some conflicting feelings about it. I'd love to hear other Cauldronites take on this one.
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Re: Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2012, 11:37:06 am »
Quote from: Aisling;63225
Does anyone else do this or something similar?  Any thoughts on the celebration of one's own birthday as something sacred or holy?

I've never heard of it in the Pagan community before, maybe nobody got the idea yet because it's already a common non-religious celebration.

I think it's a good idea though.

I think I've read somewhere that birthday celebrations have pagan origin with the belief that people need special protection on their birthday so they are given presents. Maybe someone else knows more about this?

Nachtigall

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Re: Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2012, 11:47:04 am »
Quote from: Aisling;63225
A friend recently put forth an interesting idea - that she celebrates her birthday as a holy/feast day.  The occasion is marked with offerings and prayers of thanks to her deities, a specially prepared meal shared with others of a similar path, and various rituals of self purification and celebration.  

Does anyone else do this or something similar?  Any thoughts on the celebration of one's own birthday as something sacred or holy?  

I'm still chewing on this idea and still working out some conflicting feelings about it. I'd love to hear other Cauldronites take on this one.

 
I think, the idea is common among Laveyan Satanists, with all their self-worship; it is stated in "Satanic Bible" (?), that the most holy day in a Satanist's life is their birthday. Otherwise, I've not heard of religious celebrations of this kind among Pagans.

Melamphoros

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Re: Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2012, 11:50:27 am »
Quote from: Nachtigall;63231
I think, the idea is common among Laveyan Satanists, with all their self-worship; it is stated in "Satanic Bible" (?), that the most holy day in a Satanist's life is their birthday. Otherwise, I've not heard of religious celebrations of this kind among Pagans.

 
Took the words out of my mouth.

To elaborate:  It maybe the associations to Laveyan Satanism, but observing one's own birthday as a holy day seems kind of....narcissistic....to me.  YMMV, of course.


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Re: Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2012, 12:04:46 pm »
Quote from: Aisling;63225
A friend recently put forth an interesting idea - that she celebrates her birthday as a holy/feast day.

 
I don't think it ought to be a holy day, but it is a cause for celebration! A good day for candles at least.

Aisling

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Re: Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2012, 12:20:01 pm »
Quote from: Melamphoros;63232
observing one's own birthday as a holy day seems kind of....narcissistic....to me.  YMMV, of course.

 
This was one of my gut responses as well.  I like the idea of expressing gratitude for one's existence but turning a birthday into a holy day feels like a bit of self-aggrandizing hubris to me.  Maybe I'm not as conflicted about the idea as I thought.
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Aisling

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Re: Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2012, 12:26:22 pm »
Quote from: Aisling;63235
I like the idea of expressing gratitude for one's existence but turning a birthday into a holy day feels like a bit of self-aggrandizing hubris to me.  

 
Which leads me to further wonder if there are ways that birthdays can be celebrated with religious/spiritual element without turning it becoming narcissistic or self-aggrandizing.
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Katefox

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Re: Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2012, 12:28:05 pm »
Quote from: Melamphoros;63232
Took the words out of my mouth.

To elaborate:  It maybe the associations to Laveyan Satanism, but observing one's own birthday as a holy day seems kind of....narcissistic....to me.  YMMV, of course.

 
On the other hand, I kind of like the idea as a celebration of being alive, and giving thanks for all the good things that have happened in the past year.  Kind of like a personal New Year's Day.  I've never done anything like that, but I might consider it when my birthday rolls around next year.

However, celebrating one's birthday as a tell-me-how-awesome-I-am day, that would be narcissistic. :P

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Re: Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2012, 12:44:44 pm »
Quote from: Aisling;63225
A friend recently put forth an interesting idea - that she celebrates her birthday as a holy/feast day.  The occasion is marked with offerings and prayers of thanks to her deities, a specially prepared meal shared with others of a similar path, and various rituals of self purification and celebration.

 
I do ritual work related to my birthday, but not in the sense of a holy day as in honoring a deity.

My birthday is more or less Mabon (depending when the equinox actually falls: my birthday's the 22nd), and so I usually do some combination of the above:
- Good food
- Good conversation with people I care about
- Work relating to reflecting on the harvest of my last year and what I liked about that and what I want to do differently. This is sometimes journalling, often divination work, often asking trusted friends what they're seeing.
- See also good food.

There's also often a ritual piece, though that depends on other circumstances. (Last year, I was in Montreal for a small convention: great food, great conversation, not as much obvious ritual). This year, I'm expecting more ritual stuff.
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Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #9 on: July 08, 2012, 02:31:17 pm »
Quote from: Aisling;63236
Which leads me to further wonder if there are ways that birthdays can be celebrated with religious/spiritual element without turning it becoming narcissistic or self-aggrandizing.

In either Laotian or Cambodian Buddhism, there's a tradition of going to the shrine for the day of the week that you were born and pouring a water offering for each year that you've been alive.  I was thinking about incorporating something like this into my own practice.
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Re: Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #10 on: July 08, 2012, 05:04:56 pm »
Quote from: Aisling;63225

Does anyone else do this or something similar?  Any thoughts on the celebration of one's own birthday as something sacred or holy?  


I wouldn't make it a holy day, but I do give offerings to the deities on my birthday.  I give thanks for having been born and for still being alive.  And once or twice Aset has asked me, "What do you want for your Birthday?"  and I'll answer.  

I celebrate Her birthday every year.  She shares Her birthday with me, the least I could do is reciprocate.
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Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #11 on: July 09, 2012, 05:42:09 am »
Quote from: Aisling;63225
Does anyone else do this or something similar?  Any thoughts on the celebration of one's own birthday as something sacred or holy?  

I celebrate it as my new year, which isn't inherently religious or secular to me; just the turning of the year. It's when I make resolutions/commitments to myself, assess the previous year, and aspire to do better.

There is, of course, feasting. And drink.

I have been thinking of coming up with a holiday to celebrate in August that celebrates all of my Sacred Triad of deities, Who each have Their own holiday in October/November, February, and April/May; whether that falls anywhere near my birthday or has anything to do with it remains to be seen.
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Re: Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2012, 07:04:57 pm »
Quote from: veggiewolf;63265
In either Laotian or Cambodian Buddhism, there's a tradition of going to the shrine for the day of the week that you were born and pouring a water offering for each year that you've been alive.  I was thinking about incorporating something like this into my own practice.

 
As I have stated here before, i'm not a high magic practitioner, and, along my studies throughout the years, figured it made much more sense to have my own birthday as a holiday than x-mas and new year, given that i don't celebrate them since i was a kid, so, now, my b-day is also  new year's eve and day out of time, my year starts the day after it, and ends the day before it, and is the only holiday of my personal calendar.

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Re: Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #13 on: July 14, 2012, 09:22:47 am »
Quote from: Aisling;63225
A friend recently put forth an interesting idea - that she celebrates her birthday as a holy/feast day.  The occasion is marked with offerings and prayers of thanks to her deities, a specially prepared meal shared with others of a similar path, and various rituals of self purification and celebration.  

Does anyone else do this or something similar?  Any thoughts on the celebration of one's own birthday as something sacred or holy?  

I'm still chewing on this idea and still working out some conflicting feelings about it. I'd love to hear other Cauldronites take on this one.

 
My conversion to Orthodoxy has introduced me to the concept of name days, which is something similar. Each baptised Orthodox is supposed to celebrate the feast day of the saint whose name they carry; for those who don't have such a name, there is All Saints Day (the Sunday after Pentecost), or they can even 'adopt' a saint for the purpose. Converts like me are encouraged to link their given names to a saint, or assume a new one.

Celebrating the day includes attending liturgy, taking Communion, if at all possible, and exchanging treats and well-wishing visits. It's a celebratory occasion for the community, not just the individual.

I missed my new name day this year, but I'm looking forward to it next year.
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Re: Birthdays as Holy Days
« Reply #14 on: July 14, 2012, 12:13:19 pm »
Quote from: Aisling;63225
A friend recently put forth an interesting idea - that she celebrates her birthday as a holy/feast day.  The occasion is marked with offerings and prayers of thanks to her deities, a specially prepared meal shared with others of a similar path, and various rituals of self purification and celebration.  

Does anyone else do this or something similar?  Any thoughts on the celebration of one's own birthday as something sacred or holy?  

I'm still chewing on this idea and still working out some conflicting feelings about it. I'd love to hear other Cauldronites take on this one.



Interestingly enough I had thought of perhaps celebrating my birthdays as such. However, instead of receiving gifts on my birthday, I would celebrate my birthday by giving gifts instead.

it is an interesting thought.

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