Fictional Birthday Fun

“HIPY PAPY BTHETHDTH THUTHDA BTHUTHDY”

Don’t worry. This entire blog is not in gibberish. The above is a quote from winnie-pooh.org regarding Eeyore’s birthday wherein Owl writes a birthday message on the (now empty) honey pot Pooh plans to gift his gloomy friend.

“I’m just saying ‘A Happy Birthday’,” said Owl carelessly.

“It’s a nice long one,” said Pooh, very much impressed by it.

This blog has previously featured messaging to kids regarding their birthdays and the positive character traits they should manifest on this oh-so-exciting day. More recently, though, I was thinking of famous fictional birthdays.

  • Eeyore’s regrettably forgotten birthday was one that came to mind.
  • Harry Potter, too, at age 11, suffers the overlooked birthday fate. Until Hagrid shows up — with a cake no less — although he admits it may have been squashed a bit. “I mighta sat on it at some point, but it’ll taste all right.”
  • Bilbo Baggins Eleventy First Birthday is featured on a Huffington Post list of the 10 Best Parties in Literature. After all, he invites the entire shire for feasting and Gandalf’s fireworks.
  • One more that I came across cried out to be included. Per The Telegraph’s Five Best Fictional Birthdays: “Teddy Robinson, at his own birthday party in Teddy Robinson Stories (1952), loses his head completely and sings to his guests: ‘I’m glad you came/But all the same/The party’s really for me.’”

Yet I struggled to remember or find more examples of fictional birthday parties. There were many, many suggestions made for how to host a party in the vein of a various beloved fictional character. Here’s a great round-up of book party ideas.

Still, I found little on fictional representations of characters’ actual birthdays.

Nevertheless, some sites shared the fictional birthdays of familiar characters. You might want to check out Flavorwire’s Infographic (featuring TV and movie characters — I share my birthday with Kitty of That ’70s Show and Peggy from King of the Hill) or Fictional History’s (a more literary version, although not every day of the calendar is full).

In the meantime, help me out. You’re readers. What other birthdays in fiction can you recall?

Another Reason Not to Visit the Dark Ages

When we imagine time travel — because all of us do — few of us decide the Dark Ages would be a great time to visit. Monty Python make it look funny in The Holy Grail, but funny from the outside watching from the comfort of our couches. We don’t actually want to live there.

There’s reference in Genesis to Pharoah celebrating a birthday. The Ancient Egyptians set aside money for garlands and animals to sacrifice to mark births. Rich Greeks celebrated the birth of a child, the child’s coming of age, and then marked an individual’s death with festivities on the anniversary of the person’s death. Plus, I already mentioned in a previous post, Caligula going a little crazy over his daughter’s first birthday. Julius Caesar also further pissed people off when he decided his birthday was a holiday fit for the gods (Oh, Caesar…when will you learn?).

But, then came the Dark Ages and the Christian Church decided celebrating one’s self was pagan. So, for about 1500 years people didn’t have birthdays. In fact, most people wouldn’t even have known when their birth date was. Lewis (1976) tells us it wasn’t until the 16th century that parish priests started recording birth dates.

So, along with your ideas of pestilence, illiteracy, disease-riddled hovels (if you were lucky), and other Dark Ages treats, add the absence of a birthday. I’d say a day without birthday candles is truly dark indeed.

Because growing a kid isn’t hard enough?

Reading about birthday traditions around the world I came across one that really gets me: Planting a tree at the birth of the child.

What an idea…Help the ozone! Add to the tree canopy! The child will have a tree of his or her own to care about, perhaps inculcating a love of nature along the way. All of these things came to mind, and I thought “what a great idea!”

Photo courtesy of Helene & Kev https://www.flickr.com/photos/93081182@N02/

Photo courtesy of Helene & Kev
https://www.flickr.com/photos/93081182@N02/

Then, I read about the superstition that the fate of the tree foretells the fate of the child. So, if say a little Swiss girl’s pear tree fails to thrive, it’s a bad omen for the girl. For boys in Switzerland their fate relies on an apple tree. Germany, apparently, is another country where this is a common tradition.

I have enough trouble with house plants!

With this tradition I’d be having to tend to a fledgling tree while raising an infant and trying to keep him or her alive too! The first year with a newborn was difficult enough. Adding a tree to the list of to-do’s is just too much.