Birthdays in October Alongside Halloween

by Adriana Medrano.

October is one of my favorite months of the year because I celebrate my birthday and because we have Halloween. I believe each person on this planet is unique and should be celebrated as a way of acknowledging the wonder of being born and getting the opportunity to experience life in all its beauty.

A Little History

People have been celebrating birthdays for ages. The ancient Egyptians were the first ones to get the party started. When Egyptian pharaohs were crowned gods, they were “birthed.” This means that the first birthday celebration wasn’t marking the birth of a human, but rather the birth of a god.

The Greeks added candles to the mix, and the ancient Romans brought birthdays to the commoner (ordinary people like you and me).

Did you know?

Here are some interesting facts about birthdays:

  • The iconic song, Happy Birthday to You, was first written in the late 1800s, and it comes from the song “Good Morning to All”, which has traditionally been attributed to America sisters Patty and Mildred J. Hill, although there is a dispute over who actually wrote and owns the copyright to the song.
  • According to the 1998 Guinness World Records, it is the most recognized song in the English language.
  • The song’s base lyrics have been translated into at least 18 languages.

In my family, we have always celebrated our birthdays and we always make it a point to call and get a present for the person to make them feel special. If we are near, we plan a meal together or a small gathering with the traditional cake.

I’ve not only been blessed with a loving family, but also with amazing friends that became my family during the years I lived in Cancun. On many of my birthdays I’ve gotten to experience sheer joy like the one occasion when my siblings went out of their way to plan a surprise party for me while visiting with them. I love surprises!! They took me to a mall and when I saw a blouse I liked, my youngest brother grabbed it when I wasn’t looking and bought it for me. When we came back home, we saw many cars parked outside but they dismissed that saying that the neighbor was having a party again.

It turned out to be my extended family that had been invited for lunch to celebrate my birthday while I was in town. I still remember that day as if it was only yesterday.

On another occasion, my best friend totally blew me away when being away on a trade show in Berlin. He called to say happy birthday in advance and to apologize for not being able to spend it with me. I was really bummed out. It had been a work day and I didn’t feel like doing anything. All of a sudden, when I got home that night, 2 friends of mine were waiting for me and asked me to go change into more comfy clothes to chit chat for a bit. When I went into my room and turned on the light, good heavens!!! My heart literally dropped! My friend had been flying all day long to make it in time to spend my birthday with me even if only for a short time.

He was exhausted and I couldn’t have been more grateful. No one had done that for me before.

Years later, when I moved to Chicago, I discovered the experience of love demonstrations in full swing. Year after year my aunts, uncles and cousins would make my birthdays very special. Flowers at work, cake at home, girls’ night out and the likes. Here’s where Halloween comes in. My birthday is on October 25th, so my invitations for birthday gatherings started to be even more fun because my cousins’ homes are usually decorated according to the season. You can imagine how they looked for Halloween! Huge outdoor spiders crawling on the walls, skeletons surfacing from the ground, witches crashing into trees. Oh! And the food! Coffin bread loaves, rice pudding with eyes inside, all kinds of candy for the kids and the costumes! My first year, I dressed up as “Dorothy” from “The Wizard of Oz ” and I was in charge of handing out the candy for kids trick or treating that day. I had a blast! They all looked so cute!

And from then on, year after year I would dress up to attend some of my cousins’ parties, always marveling at the creativity and fun around this celebration. Little did I know that I would be lucky enough to work for EnglishSmart, a school that also acknowledges both celebrations and that I would continue to have fun dressing up and being a part of our students’ costume contests. I hope you consider participating this year. A lot of fun guaranteed!!

Another little History

As you probably have learned in your English classes, Halloween is a celebration that got started some 2000 years ago by the Celts. Back then it was called Festival of Samhain, and people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off ghosts. Then in the 8th century, Pope Gregory III designated November 1st as the time to honor all saints. Once established, All Saints Day incorporated some of the traditions of Samhain. The evening before was known as All Hallows Eve and later  it evolved to Halloween.

Over time, Halloween turned into what we know today. A celebration specially meant for kids that carve Jack-O-lanterns, wear costumes to go trick or treating, attend festive gatherings and eat lots of treats.

Over time, Halloween turned into what we know today. A celebration specially meant for kids that carve Jack-O-lanterns, wear costumes to go trick or treating, attend festive gatherings and eat lots of treats.

It is definitely a fun season to be a part of and if we combine this American tradition with our Mexican one, then you get the best of both worlds.  My cousins also honor The Day of the Dead and they set up beautiful altars in remembrance of those loved ones that have gone ahead in the transition to eternal life.

To sum up, in life we should remember how special and unique we are. Our birthdays should be a celebration of who we are and we should make the most of it year after year. It doesn’t matter in which month you were born, but if you happen to celebrate yours in October, I hope that one day you get to celebrate in Chicago at this time of year so that you could get to see live, everything that I shared with you today!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to all our students and teachers who were born in October!! And HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!