sister2 turned sixteen this year. it was the day after she'd come home from camp, and most of the world was transitioning from summer to fall, so her friends didn't throw her a party, and we didn't hang up signs. i made her favorite cake, and she was allowed to choose the dinner, but she was complaining that it was a "stupid" birthday. that's when someone explain to her that once you pass like eight or nine (with the exception of your bar/bat mitzvah) birthdays are just a day when people wish you happy birthday if they remember, and maybe one or two people get you a card.
i would have to disagree. in my house, there is plenty of fanfare when we celebrate birthdays. my father grew up celebrating Hebrew birthdays and my mother grew up celebrating English birthdays. now my parents say they really celebrate Hebrew, but we kind of celebrate both. there are pancakes for breakfast, cards at the table, sometimes even balloons. if the lucky birthday person has a birthday on Shabbos, they don't have to help serve or clear.
on a total side note, i have no clue why family uses the term "having birthday" like my mom will tell us "call Aunt-So-and-So. she has birthday today" it comes from the same place as using the word "Omer" as a verb. ("Did you omer today?")
then of course, there's birthday week. the days in between the English and Hebrew birthdays are definitely sacred. although it's not observed by every members of my birthday, i accept birthday wishes, cards, and gifts all week. this year my English birthday was on Rosh Hashana, and my Hebrew birthday is tonight. i must admit, everyone kind of forgot about my birthday because it was overshadowed by Rosh Hashana, but I've been reminding everyone that tonight's my birthday too. Everyone called me after Rosh Hashana to wish me a happy birthday (including G6), but they actually got two days to remember
as far as my age goes, i am starting to understand adults who lament birthdays as another year passing. not that i see myself as growing old. i like to mark each birthday as another passing year, another year of lessons learned, and memories created with people i love. another year of meeting new people and making new friends. another year of accomplishment and growth