Thu, 29 Feb, 2024

About Birthdays

By Prakriti Shree Tuladhar

Photo Courtesy: Ruby Shrestha On birthdays, you get cakes, gifts and good wishes. You get something in return for being born. That’s a sad way to think about birthdays. I didn’t feel so good reading it myself. So, let’s begin again. “Happy birthday to you Happy birthday to you…” We all know the birthday song and the tune that goes along with it. We have been singing it for years with little or no variation. It is the same song again and again sung for friends, family members, or for a person who you don’t know at all (in cases where everyone else starts singing it and you have to join so as to not be left out). Considering the number of friends, family members, and random people we know, in addition to the fact that birthdays are an annual thing, that’s a lot of “happy birthday to you” sung by you in your lifetime. Before beginning to write this article, I researched ‘birthdays’ on the internet. I found that it is useless to type “birthdays” in Google and expect information about birthdays. All I got was a bunch of sites having numerous birthday messages. Messages that were warm, kind, loving, nice, sweet, and some that were too long to read. Even when you type ‘about birthdays’ the top two results show quotes on birthdays. The third site, however, had some facts on birthdays and the one I liked was called the Birthday Paradox. “If there are 23 people in a room there is a 50-50 chance that two of them will share a birthday. This is known as the birthday paradox, because it appears there are only 22 possible pairs and therefore a low chance of a match. In fact, because every guest could match with every other guest, there are 253 possible combinations (1+2+3+4… up to 22) and the probability of finding a successful one is 50.048 per cent.” ( It is math, and yes, it is going to take time to understand it. Here’s something that is easier to understand. One of the birthday events that I remember clearly and hope not to forget any time soon was the birthday of one of the senior-most people in our community. He was still fit and strong and had a loud, commanding voice. One of my friends knew this man and he gathered a bunch of us to celebrate his birthday (I had never even met this man before). He had this idea of doing things our way, of getting cake and candles and a gift. So, we put a cake in front of him, and lit a candle. He hesitated on blowing it. So my friend did it for him. Then that loud, commanding voice said, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Apparently, we are not supposed to blow candles. We are supposed to light them. We were like a bunch of spoilt children who didn’t know tradition. To end this article, I found that 15 million is the average number of people celebrating their birthday today (and every other day around the world). So, if you are one of them, “Happy birthday”!