A birthday is the symbolic or literal anniversary of a person’s or institution’s birth. People’s birthdays are commemorated in a variety of cultures with birthday presents, cards, a celebration, or a rite of passage.
Many faiths have particular festivals to commemorate the birth of their founders or religious figures (e.g., Christmas, Mawlid, Buddha’s Birthday, and Krishna Janmashtami).
There is a difference between a birthday and a date of birth: Other than February 29, the former happens every year (e.g., January 15), whereas the latter is the precise day of a person’s birth (e.g., January 15, 2001).
In most legal systems, a person becomes an adult on a given birthdate (typically between the ages of 12 and 21), and hitting certain age milestones provides certain rights and duties. At certain ages, a person may be eligible to leave full-time education, be subject to military conscription or enlist in the military, consent to sexual intercourse, marry with parental consent, marry without parental consent, vote, run for elected office, legally purchase (or consume) alcohol and tobacco products, purchase lottery tickets, or obtain a driver’s license. The age of majority is the age at which minors cease to be legally regarded children and gain legal responsibility over their own persons, acts, and decisions, ending their parents’ or guardians’ legal authority and duties over and for them. The age of majority is 18 in most nations, however it varies by jurisdiction.
Official holidays are frequently observed on the birthdays of historically notable figures, such as national heroes or founders.
On the anniversary of their “birth” into heaven, also known as their death day, Catholic saints are commemorated with a liturgical feast. The ancient Romans called the anniversary of a temple dedication or other foundation event a dies natalis, which is still used today to refer to an institution’s anniversary (such as a university).
A person’s Beddian birthday, which is named after fireman Bobby Beddia, happens when their age matches the final two digits of the year they were born.
If a person’s true birthdate is unknown (for example, if they are an orphan), their birthday may be adopted or assigned to a certain day of the year, such as January 1 in many cultures and jurisdictions. Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus. Racehorses are considered to be one year old on the first of January in the Northern Hemisphere and the first of August in the Southern Hemisphere, respectively.
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