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Birthday

BIRTHDAY (יוֹם הֻלֶּ֣דֶת, day of birth; γενεσία, birthday celebration). The celebration of the anniversary of one’s birth is a universal practice, for in most human societies the privileges and responsibilities of life are attached to the attainment of a certain age. The surviving census documents, dating back to a.d. 48, carefully record the age of those described and enrolled according to the requirements of the Rom. census law, which implies an observance and counting of birthdays. The birth of a child, according to Leviticus 12, occasioned certain rites and ceremonies. Under the Mosaic law age was the chief qualification for authority and office. The blind man’s parents declared that their son was “of age” (John 9:21). There was significance in Jesus’ visit to the Temple at twelve years of age. In spite of the absence of documentary material, it seems obvious that birthdays held their annual importance.