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It is true that Jehovah's Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays. Jesus Christ did not celebrate His either. He is our role-model and we are encouraged to be Christ-like. Birthday celebrations were regarded by the first Christians and the ancient Jews as Pagan, because it was Pagan religious traditions from which they originated.

** According to the German magazine, SchwäbischeZeitung: "The various customs with which people today celebrate their birthdays have a long history. Their origins lie in the realm of magic and religion. The customs of offering congratulations, presenting gifts and celebrating-complete with lighted candles-in ancient times were meant to protect the birthday celebrant from the demons and to ensure his security for the coming year. . . . Down to the fourth century Christianity rejected the birthday celebration as a pagan custom." April 3/4, 1981, p. 4.

** The book, The Lore ofBirthdays (New York, 1952), Ralph and Adelin Linton, pp. 8, 18-20 says: "The Greeks believed that everyone had a protective spirit or daemon who attended his birth and watched over him in life. This spirit had a mystic relation with the god on whose birthday the individual was born. The Romans also subscribed to this idea. . . . This notion was carried down in human belief and is reflected in the guardian angel, the fairy godmother and the patron saint. . . .

** The custom of lighted candles on the cakes started with the Greeks. . . . Honey cakes round as the moon and lit with tapers were placed on the temple altars of [Artemis]. . . . Birthday candles, in folk belief, are endowed with special magic for granting wishes. . . . Lighted tapers and sacrificial fires have had a special mystic significance ever since man first set up altars to his gods. The birthday candles are thus an honor and tribute to the birthday child and bring good fortune. . . . Birthday greetings and wishes for happiness are an intrinsic part of this holiday. . . . Originally the idea was rooted in magic. . . . Birthday greetings have power for good or ill because one is closer to the spirit world on this day."

The Bible does not put birthday celebrations in a favorable light. There are only two such celebrations in the Bible - both are celebrated by non-believers and horrific things happened on those "special" days. One was Pharoah's birthday: He had the chief of the bakers executed by hanging. The other was Herod's birthday: He had faithful John the Baptist beheaded. (See Genesis 40:20-22 and Matthew 14:6-10.) Jesus made no mention about celebrating birthdays, and neither did the first century Christians, the apostles, or even the ancient Jews. The reason? They all regarded birthday celebrations as pagan rituals and thus would take no part in such. (See Matthew 7:21-23 and 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.)

Birthday celebrations originated in ancient pagan religions long before Jesus Christ was on earth. Pagans celebrated the birthday of a person to honor the god of the astrological sign which the person was born under. Their celebrations were very similar to common birthday gatherings today, complete with gifts, cake, candles, and the traditional birthday wish, which was made to the aforementioned god.

Jehovah's Witnesses choose not to engage in celebrations which we feel mimic ancient pagan rituals, such as most holiday and birthday celebrations. We feel doing such would violate the law of the God of the Bible, Jehovah, who requires that we not give any worship to false gods. (Exodus 20:3).

We also respect the opinions of those who do not share our views on this matter, and do not try to hamper their choosing to celebrate whatever they wish.

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10y ago
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13y ago

This is going to be a brief answer. Most Holidays have Pagan origins and customs involved. 2 Cor. 6:14-16 ask what relationship should believers have with idols. The Christmas tree for example has nothing to do with Jesus. In ancient Germany Trees were decorated and worshiped just as the custom to decorate trees today.

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6y ago

Jehovah witness DON'T celebrate holidays. If you take a look at all holidays they either come from a pagan ritual, idolatry, or either nationalistic pride. Jesus told his followers to "remain neutral and be no part of the world as he was"(John 17:14).

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Q: Do Jehovah's Witnesses celebrate birthdays and if not what is the reason?
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