Birthdays – A Celebration of Life and Service -Part 1-

“A birth-date is a reminder to celebrate the life as well as to update the life.”
Amit Kalantri, Wealth of Words

Birthday is the day a person is born. So every person has a date of birth. Birthdays come once in a year and it is always worth celebrating. It is about God’s precious gift of life to an individual; hence birthdays are about celebrating life. In the same vein, it also ought to be a celebration of a life given out in service. One may have life, but the question is, “How much of your life is put at the selfless service of others” – for the good of society, your country and the world at large?

Celebrating one’s birthday is relative. Relative in the sense that what may constitute “celebration” for one person may not be seen as celebration for another. How and if a birthday is celebrated may often depend on a person’s experience of birthday celebration while growing up, one’s expectations of friends and family members, interest, inclination, or a person’s ability to organize a celebration for one’s self.

Some birthdays are celebrated lavishly, with lots of music, entertainment, food and drinks. This is also accompanied by lots of gifts from friends, relatives and well-wishers. Some persons use the occasion to highlight their achievements, landmarks and services rendered to society and to humanity at large. This is beautiful because it shows that the celebration is not just eating and drinking, but putting into perspective, his/her life as a tool of service to others. As a certain writer put it: Life is God’s gift to me and what I do with it becomes my gift to God.

On the date of one’s birth, there is, for most people, a sense of personal celebration and constant thinking of that day as being really special. Often too, the day’s events are seen in the light of one’s belief about their life. A positive event on that day could be seen as really remarkable or even a landmark to the celebrant. On the other hand, a negative event could be interpreted in relation to the celebrant’s life. These all point to a sense of self-consciousness on that day.


There are persons for whom celebrating a birthday does not really come to mind. They may remember it as their day, but then the day passes like any other day, with little or no unique activity to mark it. This may be due to circumstances beyond one’s control, or just from a person’s lack of a sense of celebration – “I am just not used to celebrating my birthday,” a person may say.

Today, thankfully, social media (such as facebook) and technology helps us to keep track of birthdays of loved ones, relatives, friends, colleague and acquaintances. At least we are able to wish others a happy birthday and offer them our good wishes and prayers.

When Nigeria celebrates its independence as a country, some persons tend to question, “What is there to celebrate?” As an individual, you may not have achieved your lofty dreams and ambitions, but you may still find some reason to celebrate your life, your being – just your existence – that you are alive for this long.   

Nigeria is one place where certain persons who have the means, take time to mark their birthdays in a lavish manner. The celebrant is surrounded by friends, well-wishers, family, acquaintances, and colleagues and so on. This is sometimes used to mark other milestones in the person’s life and so the events and activities that follow are indeed very colourful.

(To be continued)

  • Linda Ellah

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