Freeman Cebu Lifestyle

Are birthday parties necessary?

BIG LITTLE PEOPLE - Grace Chong - The Freeman

Birthdays are important. Birthday parties are not, and therefore unnecessary.

Ooops, did I just say something you disagree with? Before you throw tomatoes at me, allow me to explain.

The day we were born, our birthday, was a time of celebration. Our parents rejoiced and so did all the people close to us.  It is that one day in the year when God gave us the gift of life.

No question about it, birthdays are special; they are milestones. They are a time for us to look back to the past year and remember how we’ve been blessed.

And that’s what we should do on our birthday – thank our Creator for blessing us with another year of life. Birthdays, therefore are days for thanksgiving and celebration.

* * *

How we celebrate, or how we thank God, does not have to be a party.

A friend of mine, Belle, an only child, told me an amazing story. Just a bit of a background: All her birthdays from age one were lavish, grand, and expensive!

Once, her parents hired the ballroom of a five-star hotel and had it transformed into a fairyland. Belle was dressed like a princess and entered the ballroom in a beautiful carriage adorned with flowers.

There was that other birthday when Belle’s parents hired the whole carnival grounds for all her cousins and friends. There were magicians and clowns moving about, and two dozen food booths for so anyone can have all the goodies he wanted.

Which party did she love the most? Here’s her story.

* * *

My Best-Ever Birthday

It was to be the biggest birthday party among all the parties I ever had. I was going to turn seven after all.

The day before, mom and dad supervised workers decorate our garden with thousands of lights and lanterns up the trees. Our swimming pool was decked with colorful floral rafts.

Early the next morning, however, it started raining hard.

The radio announced there was a slow typhoon that parked itself over Metro Manila. In just an hour, streets were flooded. Then the electricity went off. The phones went dead. My parents could not get in touch with anyone.

No cake, no balloons, no food, no video, no entertainment, no guests, no nothing ever arrived.

It rained and rained and rained.

By noon, our house was totally dark except for the lighted candles. All we could hear was the howling of the wind. Then my yaya had an idea.

She took seven cupcakes from the refrigerator and put a candle on each one.  She called all our househelps and together, they sang “Happy Birthday!”

I blew all the seven candles one by one. Then my dad led us all in a prayer of thanksgiving. After we said “Amen,” I heard myself singing one of our grace songs before meals:

Father we thank thee

Father we thank thee

Father in heaven we thank thee


“In that case, let us eat!” dad joked.

All seven of us each had a cupcake. In the darkness, the thunder roared and it seemed like the voice of God saying, “Happy birthday, Belle!” A happy birthday it was – the happiest I ever had.

* * *

After Belle’s story, I had tears in my eyes. I have always believed that birthdays must be celebrated, because it is a gift of another year from the Lord.  But celebrations need not be a party.

Tell me all about your best birthday celebration via email: [email protected]  or through my website: http://leavesofgrace.blogspot.com.

Grace Dacanay-Chong is the author of over 50 books as of 2015, 36 of them for children. Her writings have won six Palanca Awards and a Gintong Aklat Award.  She teaches college Business Communications and Marketing/Advertising at Southville International School Affiliated with Foreign Universities (SISFU), in Metro Manila.












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