Birthday Bumps

30 Jan

Yesterday I celebrated my twenty-first birthday. I had been waiting years for this day and that got me thinking. Twenty-one isn’t really a monumental year for other people around the world as the drinking age is much younger at eighteen. Which led me to wonder, how do the Irish celebrate birthdays? Is much different from how we in America celebrate? Do they celebrate much like they celebrate everything else at the pub with a pint of beer? With a little research I did find my answer.

I’ve found that most Irish Birthday traditions aren’t much different from American ones. Yes most adults tend to go out to the pub or the club for a pint of beer with their friends, but there are some deeper traditions in the Irish culture. I’m not sure how many exactly follow it but they are there.

One tradition is that the birthday child is lifted upside down and gently bumped on the ground. The number of times the child is bumped on the ground depends on the age. If the child is 5 years old then the child is bumped against the floor 5 times. An extra bump is given for good luck. I don’t know how I would feel about getting bumped against the ground multiple times. To me it seems like a sure fire way to give your child a concussion. But that could just be me.

Another Irish birthday tradition actually occurs on the twenty-first birthday. Apparently in Ireland being given a house key is an important coming of age moment. Most young adults are given a key to the house on their twenty-first birthday and this signifies that they now have permission to come and go as they please. Ultimately it shows a level of trust between the parents and the child. I like this tradition; I think it is a great bonding moment between the families and could bring them together. Most American kids get house keys as soon as they start school, and receiving the house key is essentially no big deal. So this is nice.

So I’ve learned that Irish traditions don’t vary that much from American traditions they do have some strange ones but for the most part we all celebrate the same. 


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