Junians’ Birthdays at Dignity 20/06/2010

Can you imagine people past 60 and 70 dancing to vibrant music with glee and enthusiasm? Well the occasion for their joie de verve was the celebration of birthdays of Junians by Dignity Foundation, an NGO in Chennai. About half a dozen of Junians who were present were invited to cut the cake by turns and asked to speak about their most unforgettable birthday.
One of them said he felt that his birthday which is being celebrated by the Dignity Foundation is the most memorable because his son living abroad would call him up to wish him regularly on his “birthday”—–but he would call invariably on the wrong day, most often after the event has passed!
Another Junian, began her speech by saying she was 68 (immediately someone in the audience said she didn’t look her age) and her most memorable birthday was while she was in the U.K. with her son’s family. Her six year old grand daughter lead her to the dining table and uncovered a huge cake placed in the centre and asked her to cut it and everyone sang “ Happy Birthday to you” which was followed by a festive lunch.
Yet another said it was the first time his birthday was being celebrated in the presence of so many people.
After some light refreshments, a game of musical chairs followed and prizes were awarded to the winner and the two runners up.
Tail piece: Don’t you think birthdays of parents, grand parents and siblings should be celebrated in true spirit in keeping with our Indian traditions?

n.meera raghavendra rao

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2 thoughts on “Junians’ Birthdays at Dignity 20/06/2010

  1. Prof.V.N.K.Kumar

    As far as I know, there is no traditional Hindu way of celebrating birthdays. Only 1st birthday, 60th birthday and 80th birthday are celebrated with special puja, homam etc. 1st birthday is celebrated with “Ayush Homam”. 60th and 80th Birthdays of men who have wives alive, are celebrated as “Shastiaptha Poorthi” and “Sadabishekam”. People usually celebrate Birthdays of God in a grand manner like – Ramanavami (Birthday of Lord Rama), Janamashtami (Birthday of Lord Krishna), Vinayaka Chaturti, Karthigai, etc.

    As you can guess it is a concept taken from the west. But no harm and it is a welcome one. Even if it is from the west, some people put their tradition (going to temple, doing puja/homam at home and giving gifts to others) into it and the celebration of birthdays in Middle class Hindu traditional families comprises of going to temple and doing special archana/abhishekam in the name of the birthday person in the morning, making grand lunch with payasam/sweets and presenting gifts to them. Finally the borrowed “cutting cake” function is held in the evening. It is something like ‘Fusion music’. You can have the cake and eat it too. Without rocking the boat of our own customs and displeasing our orthodox elders, you can also please the younger generation who want to ape the western culture a-la Hollywood.

  2. meera rao

    One can have a mix of tradition and modernity, a kind of via media to please the old and satisfy the young .All said and done I feel it is not the chronological age that matters ,but one’s outlook !

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