Many people today celebrate the day of their birth.
It is so common that it would seem very odd to even
think that God might be offended by such a practice.
However, the question should be asked, does God have an opinion regarding our celebration
of the day of our birth? This is a question
that this article will try to answer. I want
to state up front that there is not a clear cut
answer in the scripture (at least I haven't found
one). In other words, there is not a
scriptural law that says we should not practice
birthdays, but you can infer this from some
passages. Please read with an open mind and
understand that each believer needs to decide for
themselves if they should practice birthdays or not.
It is the intent of this article to demonstrate that
birthdays are not endorsed by the scriptures and
believers should not practice them.
Birthdays in History:
It might surprise some to hear that birthdays have a
pagan origin. Though it seems innocent enough,
the idea comes from witchcraft.
“Originally the idea [of birthdays] was rooted in
magic. The working of spells for good and evil is
the chief usage of witchcraft. One is especially
susceptible to such spells on his birthday, as one’s
personal spirits are about at that time"
(Ralph and Adelin Linton, The Lore of Birthdays,
1953, p. 20). People who celebrated birthdays
did so in an attempt to reach the occult. This
day is considered the highest day of the year for a
witch or warlock (Lavey A, Gilmore P, The
Satanic Bible, 1976, p. 96). The intent
is to seek out the occult to receive special
blessings on your special day.
If we think about it, all the traditions we do on
birthdays have an occult meaning. Here is a
short list of some of these traditions:
Ancient pagans believed the fire
from the candles had magic powers.
These represented their prayers to their
The cone hat from birthdays have a
clear connection to the witches cone hat in
The receiving of gifts on ones
birthday is associated with sacrifices to
pagan gods. On this day you are the
god receiving the sacrifice. This is
why we make wishes when we blow out the
candles. We want to receive a blessing
from the gods and the candles carry the
prayers for us.
Ancient pagans believed that the
position of the stars at the time of one's
birth had great meaning in the future of
that person. This is where horoscopes
come from. God intended the moon,
stars, and sun to be used to distinguish
times and seasons (Gen. 1:14), but not this
As you look at some of the birthday customs today
you can clearly see the connection to pagan
witchcraft. Ancient pagan man used birthdays
as a means to appease their god, to exalt
themselves, and to receive special blessings.
This clearly is not a biblical practice.
Birthdays in the Early Church:
To my knowledge, there is no record of any of the
Apostles, or early church fathers, who celebrated
their birthdays. However, there are records of
early church fathers who condemn the practice.
Origen of Alexandria stated, "Of all the holy
people in the Scriptures, no one is recorded to have
kept a feast or held a
great banquet on his birthday. It is only
sinners who make great rejoicings over the day on
which they were born into this world below"
(Origen of Alexandria, in Levit., Hom.
VIII, in Migne P.G., XII, 495, from the Catholic
Encyclopedia, Volume 10). The Catholic writer
Arnobius, from the third century wrote, "you
worship with couches, altars, temples, and other
service, and by celebrating their games and
whom it was fitting that you should assail with
keenest hatred" (Arnobius, Against the Heathen,
Chapter 64). Many other church fathers wrote
against birthdays as well.
In fact, the Jews have always held that the practice
of celebrating one's birth was against the
scriptures. Josephus, a first century Jewish
historian, wrote, "Nay, indeed, the law does not
permit us to make festivals at the birth of our
children, and thereby afford occasion of drinking to
excess" (Josephus, Josephus Complete Works,
1977, p. 632). The Encyclopedia Judaica
states, "The celebration of birthdays is unknown
in traditional Jewish ritual" (Encyclopedia
Judaica, vol.4, p.1054). There are numerous
quotes from Jewish sources that validate this claim.
It wasn't until recently that the Jews started
accepting the practice of birthdays.
Birthdays in the Scriptures:
As stated earlier, the scripture does not speak
directly to the topic of birthdays, but we can infer
some things. Here are some scriptures commonly
used to demonstrate God's displeasure with the
celebration of birthdays.
The Scriptures only mention two different
birthday celebrations. Each of these
celebrations were by pagan men and each
contained an evil done on that day. The
first of which is the birthday of Pharaoh in
Genesis 40:20-22. Here the Pharaoh had one
prisoner killed and one prisoner freed.
The second is Herod's birthday in Mark 6:21,
25-28. Here Herodias' daughter danced for
Herod and was promised anything she wanted.
She asked for John the Baptist's head on a
silver platter. This was promptly carried
There is a law which bans witchcraft and sorcery
(Deut. 18:10-12). We have already seen the
connection between witchcraft and birthdays.
Job, a righteous man, had great concern for his
children who practiced birthdays (Job 1:4-5).
Here Job sacrificed to the Lord out of concern
that his children had a feast on their birthday.
Job said, "It may be that my sons have
sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did
Job continually" (Job 1:5).
Apparently Job offered sacrifices for his
children regularly for celebrating birthdays.
The Prophet Jeremiah cursed the day he was born
Job cursed the day he was born (Job 3:1-5).
Solomon stated, "A good name is better than
precious ointment; and the day of death than the
day of one's birth" (Eccl. 7:1).
Though these verses do not directly state that
birthdays are not to be followed, they do imply that
they are a negative practice. It seems clear
to me that the many negative aspects the scripture
mentions relating to birthdays is cause enough to
stop the practice. All this aside, there is
one more reason stronger than all to not practice
birthdays. If we are following the Hebrew
calendar, the practice of birthdays is impossible.
Remember, the Hebrew calendar is not a set calendar.
In fact, you can hardly call it a calendar at all.
The Hebrew calendar is based on the crops and the
moon. When the first crops of the year turn
green, the next new moon is the first day of the
first month abib (Ex. 12:2, 13:4, , Deut. 16:1).
The Hebrew word for abib is 'âbı̂yb which
means, "to be tender, green, that is a young ear
of grain" (Strong's Concordance - H24).
The first day of the year changes each year and
therefore the day of your birth is different each
year. You can hardly call this celebrating
your birthday when the calendar being used
fluctuates. This alone has caused me to
believe that the practice of birthdays is not
endorsed by the God of the scriptures. If it
were endorsed, His calendar would provide a way to
The evidence seems clear to me, although not
directly stated, that believers are not to celebrate
birthdays. If we were supposed to celebrate
birthdays, God's calendar would have provided a way
for us to celebrate them. If we were supposed
to celebrate birthdays, the scriptures would have
provided us the date of the Messiah's birth so we
can celebrate it. If we were supposed to
celebrate birthdays, there would have no doubt been
a positive example of this celebration in the
scripture. As it stands, there is not one
piece of evidence from the scriptures to validate
the celebration of the day of our birth.
It might be wise for us to error on the side of caution and
avoid the practice in light of this evidence.
After all, if God wanted us to celebrate our
birthdays, He probably would have made a law for it.