Celebrating a Birthday|
Birthday has always been a special day for all of us. On this day, we usually want to do something unusual so that we will remember this day for a long time.
In today’s world throwing parties, blowing out the candles, cutting cake and giving
gifts to a birth-day boy/girl is a normal practice everywhere. It is a bit difficult to
know how and when it started. But, certainly these practices do not have any ethos
or a basis of any religion; neither Hindu dharma nor any other faith.
Have you ever thought how to celebrate birth-day in a Hindu way (our way!!)? For Hindus,
birthday is a not only a day for enjoyment, but also a day for realization, appreciation, showing a gratitude and making a resolution. Let us try to explore
what we can (should) do on our birth-days!!
It is said that “life” is God’s gift. We enjoy God’s property - nature, air, water
and universe without which we can not survive. On our birth-day, we should offer
prayers to God to show our gratitude and gratefulness. Our parents give us the first lesson of the life. They not only nurture us but also protect from all odds. After
offering prayers to God, we must seek blessings of our parents and elders.
Spend a day doing good things
As mentioned earlier, “Life” is God’s gift. It is expected that we should utilize
our life-time in doing good things. Few guidelines (suggestions) are given below
about how to spend this special day or what we can do on this day. Try to implement
whichever is possible under your capacity.
1) Try to speak 100% in your own language (mother-tongue).
2) Call your grand-parents and close relatives who are in Bharat or away from you. They will feel happy that you remembered them on your birth-day.
3) Visit a nearest temple in the morning along with your parents and others.
4) Wear a traditional dress. Think why can’t my “traditional” dress become my
regular (routine) dress?
5) Buy a good book and read it thoroughly.
6) Do some “Seva” (service) such as volunteering at temple or old homes, donating
your pocket-money for a good cause, serving kids in orphanage.
7) Whatever good things you do on this day, note them down in your personal diary.
When you grow up you will find them inspiring.
Invite friends and celebrate your birth-day
1) Invite all your friends. Wear traditional dress and also request your Hindu
to come with a traditional outfit.
2) Let mother prepare a thali with haldi/kumkum, diya, akshata and sweets and perform your “aarti” and apply “tilak” on your
3) Light a lamp (diya) but do not blow out. Blowing out lamp is certainly not auspicious (positive), whereas lighting a lamp symbolizes new life, new
beginning or spreading knowledge. Explain your American friends why you do this.
4) After lighting a lamp, let your parents and friends chant following shlokas to
express their wish. Do not insist your American friends to follow any of these customs. Let them express their wish by their own way.
| janmadinamidam ayi priya sakhe ||
shantano tu te sarvadA mudam ||
prArthayAmahe bhava shatAyuShi ||
iishvaraH sadA twAM cha raxatu ||
puNya karmaNA kirtimarjaya ||
jIvanaM tava bhavatu sArthakam ||
|O Dear friend, may this birthday bring you
Auspiciousness and joy forever
Indeed we all pray for your long life;
May the Lord always protect you.
By noble deeds may you attain fame
And may your life be fulfilled.
5) Distributing and eating sweets has always been a way of celebration. We do it
on every festival. On your birth-day, after lighting a lamp, you can distribute sweets among all invitees. Cake will also do!! Decorate your cake by writing
“OM” or following shloka.
jIvet sharadaH shatam ||
Meaning: May he live hundred years.
6) Now-a-days, exchanging gifts is unavoidable. Your friends may give you gifts
and you may also want to give them something in return. Set an example by giving good gifts such as book or any other useful thing. Next time, your
friends will also try to follow you!!
7) Once celebration is over, your lamp (diya) can be placed in front of the God in
Make a resolution
Hmm!! Celebration is over. All are left home. Everything is quiet. Now What!? Now is a time of introspection. Birth-day is a good time to introspect and make
new resolutions. At the end of the day, sit quietly, introspect yourself and make new resolves
that will improve your overall personality and try to achieve them before the next
birth-day comes. Here is something what can be decided and achievable…..
1) Improve your fluency in your mother tongue.
2) Buy at least 3 new good books and read them thoroughly.
3) Learn something that is related to our culture such as learning instruments, dance,
understanding our customs, writing in your own language and acquire skill in the same.
4) Learn more about your ancestors and your spiritual land - Bharat.
5) Participate meaningfully in the BalaGokulam like gatherings.
So! Let us make a new resolve now that we shall celebrate our next birth-day in a Hindu way. Shall we?
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