Birthdays – a day to enjoy? An entertaining cultural history
As children we can barely wait for it to come around; but the older we get, the more a burden it becomes for many. Our birthdays come around once a year and we celebrate them, often when there is no particular reason to. How did this ritual come about and what does it mean?
Stefan Heidenreich is someone who would happily do without his birthday. Perhaps that’s why questions like these interest him. There are various myths as to how the birthday party came to exist. First, bureaucracy had to be invented to record the birthday of every subject; and then, citizens who did not want the nobility to be the only ones who had parties. Today the super-rich outdo each other with extravagant birthday party ideas. And if you’re not one of these, you can at least count how many followers have thought of you on your special day. This is an eccentric, entertaining cultural history – the definitive birthday gift.