The Importance of Celebrating a Birthday

Zodiac - WesternHave you ever wondered why we celebrate birthdays? A birthday commemorates the day of the year when you were born and in most cultures around the world it is celebrated with birthday cakes, parties, and feasts with friends and family. It is a happy occasion to celebrate the joy of life itself and to reflect on personal goals and accomplishments. The social custom of birthday celebrations is something that we partake in without a second thought. Interestingly, this little piece of conventional wisdom is actually an astrological event. In fact, from an astrological point of view it is unwise to not take this day seriously. Every year on your birthday (sometimes a day earlier or later) the Sun is in the same position it was in the day you were born. This is significant because it represents your astrological New Year, and the position of the planets are said to play a key role in your life events of the coming year. Over the course of the year, the Sun’s path across the celestial sphere passes through twelve divisions of celestial longitude that we call the Zodiac. However, other cultures have a different interpretation of the cosmos. Let’s take a look at the Eastern vs. Western approach to the astrological birthday calendar.

Chinese vs. Western Astrology:

Period of Time: Western astrology is broken down on a month-by-month scale. It is believed that people within the same month, or zodiac sign, will have the same traits. Chinese astrology on the other hand depicts signs by years and indicates that people born in the same year will share the same traits.

Calendars of the Moon and Sun: Chinese astrology bases beliefs arranged by the phases of the moon, or a lunar calendar. Each month begins with a new moon and lasts for an approximate time.  However, the western calendar is derived from the Earth’s orbit around the Sun and therefore each month begins on a a set date and can last between 28 to 31 days.

Zodiac Signs: Western astrology ascribes to a season-based zodiac that is represented by constellations. On the contrary, Chinese astrology signs were derived from myth. The story goes Zodiac - Chinesethat during the creation of the calendar, God had all of his creatures run a race. The first twelve species to finish the race became the signs of the Chinese zodiac.

Phases vs. Modes of the Moon: The phase of the Moon at the time of birth is what Chinese astrology believes impacts a person’s demeanor. New moon, Waxing Moon, Full Moon and Waning Moon are the four lunar phases. New Moon types are adventure seekers, Waxing Moon types are hard-working, Full Moon people appreciate protocol and are very diplomatic while Waning Moon personalities value a peaceful environment. Three modes, Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable make up western astrology. Each mode is linked to four signs and is said to determine an individual’s temperament. Cardinal signs are born leaders, Fixed types are hard-working, and Mutable signs value deep interpersonal connections.

The Elements: Five elements make up the world for Chinese astrology: Fire, Earth, Metal, Water and Wood. In their lunar calendar, each element has a 2-year period to influence life events based on their key characteristics. Fire means excitement, Earth creates a secure foundation, Metal creates order, Water forms emotional bonds and Wood inspires exploration. Only four elements are identified in western astrology: Fire, Earth, Air and Water. Each element in this case is associated with threes signs and influences the psychological characteristics of individuals. Those associated with Fire are impulsive, Earth signs are practical, Air signs value intellect and Water signs are ruled by their emotions.

From China to North America, birthdays are celebrated everyday and everywhere. Birthdays symbolize milestones that are important celebrations in everyone’s life. The traditions, beliefs, and festivities may be different but the events and reasons to celebrate them are the same. We only have a limited number of birthdays so it is important to celebrate each one to the fullest!

What is something you hope to accomplish before your next birthday?

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