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Mazaltov.co.uk  - Jewish Birthday Celebrations
Birthday celebrations are an important part of life for many Jewish communities, both the Orthodox and non-Orthodox ones. However, it seems that celebration of one’s birthday is unknown to the Jewish tradition and with the exception of a few important milestones, birthdays in the Jewish community usually went by non-celebrated.

The Torah mentions birthday celebration only once and even then, it is mentioned in relation to the Egyptian pharaoh. Rather than celebrating the day of birth, the Jewish tradition commemorates the anniversary of a person's death. According to King Solomon, it is the day of death that matters and not the day of birth. This is due to the fact that the good deeds of a person can be evaluated only at his or her death. Newborn, on the other hand, has not done anything worth to celebrate. Furthermore, according to some beliefs, too much attention can spoil the child. Despite that, even the most Orthodox Jewish communities generally do not have anything against celebrating birthdays. On the contrary, birthday celebrations have become an important part of the Jewish life despite the fact that they do not originate from the Jewish tradition.

Although the view of birthday celebrations tends to vary from one rabbi to another, most of them think that it is a special day for the celebrant and thus it is not uncommon to hold special prayers in the synagogue. Some rabbis, however, go even further by comparing the significance of one's birthday to the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah). Despite that, there are a few communities that do not celebrate birthdays because they are not in the Jewish tradition although they celebrate major milestones which are directly influenced by the person's date of birth. These celebrations, however, are of religious nature.

Examples include:

The age of 3 years. Some Jews celebrate a boy's third birthday. At this occasion, a banquet is held and the boy gets his first haircut.

The age of 5 years. Upon reaching the age of 5 years, the child is considered to be old enough to start the study of the Torah.

The age of 13 years for boys and 12 years for girls. Upon reaching the age of 13, a boy becomes a Bar Mitzvah which means that he has reached the religious majority. Girls become full members of the Jewish community or Bat Mitzvah one year earlier. The celebration of Bar and Bat Mitzvah is relatively new but it has become a major event for many Jewish families.

The age of 83. According to the Torah, the normal lifespan of a person is 70 years. As a result, a person who has reached the age of 83 years may celebrate the second Bar and Bat Mitzvah.