Josh-Daniel S. Davis (joshdavis) wrote,
Josh-Daniel S. Davis

Why Jehova's Witnesses don't celebrate birthdays.

A friend politely declined coming to my Birthday party because it's not an acceptable part of Jehova's Witnesses. I'd heard about Holloween, but not birthdays, so I asked for details. She returned with a wonderful bunch of information I've included here.

> Birthdays:
> First of all, there's the question of how birthday celebrations are
> presented in the bible. Is it in a favorable light or not?
> There are only two refrences to any such celebrations in the bible:
> Gen. 40:20-22 which says 'Now on the third day it turned out to be
> Pharaoh's birthday, and he proceeded to make a feast...accorrdingly he
> returned the chief of the cupbearers to his post of cupbearer...but the
> chief of the bakers he hung up."
> Matt. 14:6-30 which says 'When Herod's birthday was being celebrated the
> daughter of Herodias danced at it and pleased Herod so much that he
> promised with an oath to give her whatever she asked. Then she, under her
> mother's coaching said: 'Give me here upon a platter the head of John the
> Baptist'...He sent and had John beheaded in the prison"
> In 2 Timoth 3:16,17 we read  All Scripture is inspoired of God and
> beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for
> disciplining in righteousness that the man of God may be fully competent,
> completely equipped for every good work.
> nothing in the bible is just there on a whim, instead, as the scripture at
> 2 Tim 3:16,17 points out, everything in the bible is there for a reason.
> Take note of the fact that God's word reports unfavorably about bithday
> celebrations.
> now the second question is how did early Christians and Jews of Bible times
> view birthday celebrations? this question is important because the Jews in
> bible tiems were God's chosen people and the early Christians were taught
> either directly by Jesus or by one of his apostals. The boot, The History
> of the Christian Religion and Church, During the Three First Centuries (new
> York, 1848) by Augustus Nander (translated by Henry John Rose) on pag 190
> states:
> "The notion of a birthday festival was far from the ideas of the Christians
> of this period in general"
> The the Imperial Bible-dictionary (London, 1874), edited by Patrick
> Fairbairn, Vol. I, Page 225 states "The later hebrews looked on the
> celbration of birthdays as part of idolatrous worship, a view which would
> be abundantly confirmed by what they saw of the common observances
> associated with these days."
> Since the Jews in bible times who were under a special contract with God
> and were given an extensive set of laws to live by avoided birthdays as
> idol worthsip AND the early christians who were first taught by Jesus
> himself then by his apostals shunned the practice, people living now that
> want to endever to live as close to what God requires as possible do well
> to look at the examples of these two groups.
> The next thing to consider is what the origin of popular customs associated
> with birthday celebrations are.
> Schwabische Zeitung (magazine supplement Zeit and Welt), published april
> 3/4 1981 on page 4 says:
> "The various customs with which people today celebrate their birthdays have
> a long history. Their origins lie in the realm of magic and religion. The
> customs of offering congratulations, presenting gifts and celebrating -
> complete with lighted candles- in anchinet times were meant to protect the
> birthday celebrant from the demons and to ensure his security for the
> coming year...down to the fourth century, Christianity rejected the
> birthday celebration as a pagan custom.'
> The book, The Lore of Birthdays (New York, 1952), Ralph and Adelin Linton
> pp. 8, 18-20 states:
> "The Greeks belived that everyone had a protective spirit or Daemon who
> attended his birth and watched over him in life. This spirit had a mystic
> relation with the god on whose birthday the individual was born. The Romans
> also subscribed to this idea...This notion was carried down in human belief
> and is reflected in the guardian angel, the fairy godmother and the patron
> saint...The custom of lighted candles on the cakes started with the
> Greeks...Honey cakes, round as the moon and lit with tapers were placed ion
> the temple alters of Artemis...Birthday candles, in folk belief, are
> endowed with special magic for granting wishes...Lighted tapers and
> sacrificial fires have had a special mystic significance ever since man
> first set up altars to his gods. The birthday candles are thus an honor and
> tribute to the birthday child and bring good fortune...Birthday greetings
> and wishes for happiness are an intrinsic part of this holiday...Orginally
> the idea was rooted in magic...Birthday greetings have power for good or
> ill because one is closer to the spirit world on this day."
> There are many other refrence works avilable at the library and on the net
> concerning the origins of birthdays and the customs with them. The
> celbration  is steeped in all sorts of God dishonoring practices and so,
> true christians avoid it as did the early Jews, Jesus himself and the early
> Christians. Hopefuly this helps answer the question?

Basically, it boils down to it originating from idolotrous and pagan / magic / demon worship.
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