Do you ever think back when you were age 10 and wishing that you were age 16 when you could get your driver’s license? Then, at age 16, wishing you were age 21 so you could drink alcohol (legally)?
It seems that we wish away the years when we are younger but, then, suddenly, the realization hits you that you have to get a job—not just a job but you have to find and secure a career. And, with this comes responsibilities—marriage, children, mortgage payment, bills, etc., etc. Well, here it is, so many years later and now—do you find yourself looking backwards, wishing to shave off the years?
It’s those darn birthdays, isn’t it? Every year, they come around and then we look at our number and think... I wish I could turn back the clock.
Counting birthdays is one of our traditions in the United States. And, what better way to remind a person of his/her advancing years than by sending a birthday card. On the other hand, sending birthday wishes is a nice gesture for people to be thought of on their special day.
It might be surprising to hear that the greeting card industry is a multi-billion-dollar business in the United States. According the Greeting Card Association, Americans purchase approximately 6.5 billion greeting cards each year, resulting in annual retail sales of $7 to $8 billion dollars. The most popular cards sold are birthday cards.
But, from where does the tradition of sending greeting cards come? According to the Association, the tradition of giving greeting cards as a meaningful expression of personal affection for another person is still being deeply ingrained in today’s youth, and this tradition will likely continue as they become adults and become responsible for managing their own important relationships. So, you see, we send/give birthday cards because our parents did (of course, most probably our mothers).
But, what about in other countries? The Brits love to send greeting cards; the French, on the other hand, do not send out any greeting cards.
However, there are some cultures that do not celebrate birthdays at all:
Bhutan – Has a strong “collectivist” culture, meaning giving a group priority over each individual in it. Most people in Bhutan do not know their actual birthdate so, frankly, birthdays are not important in the country.
Jehovah’s Witnesses — Do not celebrate birthdays.
China – Birthdays are celebrated only for infants and the elderly. While the passage of time is recognized in China, birthdays are typically not celebrated.
Afghanistan – Afghans really do not know their exact age. But since the American invasion, they have a festival on January 1 to celebrate the birth of everyone.
Yemen – Yemenis do not care whether you are age five, 50 or age 95! They do not have birthdays, nor count numbers. And, all Yemenis have January as their birthdate on their passports.