Celebrate Your Birthday Yourself – Spoil yourself!

Some are unfortunate that they could not receive this honor due to life’s hardships and challenges. Every part of society has this ritual engraved into their way of living. But not all, I was surprised to see my child’s birthday is celebrated at her Creche and later on at her school. I never had this honor.

Fortunately, my parents made the effort to celebrate them at home. This was a long past my days for creche. I remember vividly billowing candles wearing bright red and white striped colored T-shirts and blue shorts with red and white stripes on the sides. I mainly remember because of the pictures. Coming to think about it it was not mine but my brothers.

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Happy Birthday to you. Celebrate not alone. Birthday cake

Have you ever felt all your siblings’ birthdays were yours? you wonder if yours were even celebrated. This one particular bit day that I recall. The cake was on the cardboard and I kept asking when are we having the cake. My Mom kept on saying tomorrow. I was not about to wait for tomorrow and I remember thinking it was my cake anyway so I kept going to it and with my finger, I pocket this nuts-covered cake, licking my fingers of course till it looked like swiss cheese. I don’t recall the birthday celebration that was supposed to occur the following day. Did it ever happen?Pauline and Alfred Ratlhagane 50th Anniversary.

The best Birthdays.

My Mom and Day shared their Birthday. I always thought that’s what a parent does on one parent’s birthday. Eventually, I learned that they shared their birthdate. The was the most wonderful birthday and there would hallway be more cake. Two flavors to take from. It is still the best birthday  I know. When my sisters were born we had a second pair of cakes for one day. As they grew bigger the parties also became bigger.

I soon left home and have not celebrated with them. They are now married and living separate but close birthdays. An occasional birthday wishes are what we can afford as we grow. A small token of a Gift would go a long way especially if we can afford one. Mom and Dads are the best by far.

Why do celebrate birthdays?

The journey to this celebration is believed to have started ages ago in Ancient Egypt. Thought the celebration was not for humans but for the Pharo who was being honored as a god for the first time. The Greeks took the ritual further as they would celebrate or rather make sacrifices to appease their gods. They would celebrate one of their gods Artemis with a moon-shaped cake line with candles,  and by blowing the candles they would with a wish was a way of sending their prayers to their gods.

Many early Christians of course saw birthdays as pagan rituals. Christians believe that you are born with original sin. So pagans were seen as celebrating evil when they celebrated birthdays. It would take over 100years to break ties with that notion. Many pagan celebrations end up being pro-Christian celebrations like Christmas, Easter, or even Valentine’s Day.

As all pagan ritual is reverted to Christianity through Jesus related events, it was in the 4th Century when Christians stopped seeing birthdays as evil when they started celebrating Jesuses Birthday on Christmas day.

Happy Birthday  Bubbly.

Pagan celebration of birthdays.

It would seem that the majority of rituals for birthdays were inculcated by pagan rituals that had deep meaning in what the birthdays are today. The Greeks believed that on the day you are born there is an evil that comes with such an important day. So the family would come to celebrate with the family member and surround the newborn with joy and laughter that was believed to drive the evil away. The more Joy and laughter of celebration the stronger was the power of the event to drive evil away. Gifts were given to intensify the good spirit and evil would be at bay.

The Roman Birthday.

It was the Romans that started celebrating birthdays for humans. As the celebration was common to celebrate kings and important government personalities the public started seeing the protective nature of this event.

At the age of fifty, the Romans would prepare a cake made with wheat and honey and this would be awarded to the male celebrant. It was only in the 12th century that the female celebrant started being honored. It really makes no sense why male birthdays took residence. Why would it take that long to start celebrating women the more reasons why women should rally celebrate their births.

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The New age of Birthdays for all.

Skip some centuries ahead and the world was celebrating birthdays. The first birthday is the most important one. The Germans celebrated Kinderfest with a cake adorned with candles in the 18th century. When the industrial revolution came, there was a need for cake as birthdays would naturally evolve into what I call the business.

The evolution of rituals that were meant to ward off evil is now capitalists’ means to make money. No wonder many have opted not to celebrate the most important day of their lives.

Mc D Birthday.

Why I stopped celebrating.

I always felt the joy to celebrate a birthday and embraced the rituals that were in pagan-centered celebration: warding off evil, filling the room with Joy, and protecting the newborn with love from the family that is there for the protection of the celebrant from evil.

From an early age, the celebration at my home would be grand and we would slaughter a sheep. and our yard would be filled with maltitudes. The last of this kind was of my first daughter. My wife was overwhelmed and was shut out of this huge Whoraa! my child was Crying for the whole celebration. We then opted for a smaller celebration with close friends at a restaurant. Talk about a Mcdonald’s party, with Ronald Mcdonald!

Why do May others stop celebrating?

It has never been easy to accept that you are getting old and moving closer to your last days. Why would you want to celebrate your death? Only if you are not happy about your life you will not want to face the truth about your mortality.

Capitalism has its place in everything that involves money. It is all about money and the less you have of it, the more you will pull out of activities that require loads of it.

Many people are lonely and would not like to amplify their loneliness by doing something they believe should be shared with friends and family.

It is my party I can shout if I want to!

Screw everyone I said to myself. While studying in the Western Cape, my birthday had been the saddest day of my life. I realized that I had no friends on my birthday. I stater then to make the best of the day. I spoiled myself and never stopped till I was a father.

I remember taking a taxi to Tigervalley mall and going on a shopping spree and ending off the day with a meal at my favorite restaurant and that time, Pnarottis. My sure best meal Vegetarian Pizza with Eggs Sunnyside and  Avacado and plenty of Cheese, tobacco Chillie galore, and a pint of ice-cold beer or a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.

I remember returning to my dormitory, refreshed and looking forwards to my new life. I believe with every Birthday life is renewed but only if you celebrate the life you have. If you stop there is really nothing to celebrate is there? well, if there is nothing to celebrate I guess not much to live for?

One Man Pizza Dinner on your Birthday.

Spoil yourself rotten and reboot for yet another year!

It is not about Money. If you have some it is worth waisting on yourself, you have worked hard for it and you deserve some fun. I see the day as the day to stock up on life and what it has to offer. As you breathed your first breath take in some more for the next year and you breathe your last for that year by blowing on those candles, fill up with wish in hand for yet entered fruitfully year.

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If you are going to plan a birthday for your friends, Lover or Lover ones do it in style and make sure the year that follows is the best. Remember the Pagan way, surround them with love, joy, and happiness. The more joyful you are the less evil is around you. And look forward to a wonderful new year filled with Joy and the absence of evil.

Sing a happier version of the Birthday song. It is not meant to be depressing.

Happy Birthday to Me, to You, and to Everyone who still celebrates their Existence.



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  1. Thank you for this article, I feel that every year that we get older we get closer to the end of our lives, what better way to appreciate your life than by celebrating your birthday, as you get older you achieve things or work closer towards whatever goals you may have set for yourself you need to reflect back and say, “at 35 I started my business” for example. Life is actually really short, enjoy what you have, celebrate every win. Birthdays come only once a year, it deserves to be celebrated.

    1. Most definitely Jean,

      You only live ones and why not make your birthday a priority. Do something fun and reconnect with the living you. What if tomorrow never comes? At least you can say in your afterlife, that was the best birthday ever. Thank you for reading and all the best on your Birthday.

      Happy Birthday!



  2. Hey Ntlhane, thank you for inspiring more people to be able to stand up and celebrate this day even though it is only themselves! I never knew that there was such a heavy history on birthdays and I’m so excited to have learnt this new knowledge from your article! I was working abroad last year, away from my family and I remember being so sad and alone as I walk back from work with the day being so gloomy. But I stopped myself on the tracks, and told myself to cheer up! I ended up buying back a large pizza, two tubs of ice cream, a bunch of mystery pack collectibles (as I really do love collecting them) and a piece of cake. I remember bringing it back and enjoyed my night with Netflix playing and calling my family members while we all sang happy birthday together. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be! 

    Birthdays are also a reminder that we have powered through another year in our lives. To also remind ourselves that we are alive and able to improve and look forward to another new year! A great time to reflect on ourselves and also set new goals for us. Great article here that helped me learnt so much as well as remind people that we can also celebrate ourselves! Do you have any recommended activities that one can do for themselves on a birthday? Go on a shopping trip, visit a place that you always wanted to (zoo / theme parks) or even volunteer at an animal shelter? Thank you once again for this and I look forward for more of these!

    1. Hi Joe, 

      What an inspiring story you have shared. You are not alone and when you do decide to celebrate, the universe allows you the goodness of life and stars align. The family will call and friends will reconnect. It is a pity that we are raised to only know that a birthday is something that is made for us. I have met friends that went all the way out to share the love they would buy tuns of cake and share with the whole school. When there was not enough cake, I remember driving Mrs. Helen to a cake shop because she needed more cake for the groundsmen.

      One of my friend’s daughters, instead of being bought all sorts of goodies Kareya asked for goodies packs to be made and given to a neighboring NGO. Close to 100 children received packs on her birthday. It is actually not only about receiving, it is to do with Charity.

      I wish you the greatest Birthday and all that you wished for when you were alone. And a happy birthday to your next Birthday.


  3. Celebrating birthdays form such a large part of ones life, and even if you are on your own, there is no reason why you shouldn’t honour the day on which you were born. Different cultures have different traditions when it comes to celebrating a birthday. 

    A birthday celebration does not have to be huge or cost a lot of money, the focus should be on making the birthday girl or boy special, and that to me is the most important thing about a birthday celebration. 

    1. It is true, the focus is to make the celebrant feel special. The feeling can be so powerful that it inspires life. It is not just a simple feeling of joy but a life-giving force that is so many times taken for granted. Though many cultures do this differently it is meant for the same purpose. 

      I wish you a Happy Birthday, Line, and a great life ahead.


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