Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Birthdays

When most people get a second homework diary they just stuff it in their bag and let it fade and rot away in the depths of they're school bag. However i decide to let it help me with a challenge i always forget to do. This was to find a Birthday for every day. While i should have been listening to my guidance teacher talk about exams and the future i was flicking through my mind trying to remember my friends birthdays. During lunch i gathered some more dates and names but i didn't quite realise there were so many days in a year. The most annoying thing was that there was several people on the same day. it seems there is actually a mathematical theory behind this coincidence.


This is the probability theory of the "Birthday Paradox." This is that in a group of 23 people there is a 50% chance two people will have the same birthday. At 57+% the statistic is 99.9% but somehow it isn't 100% unless there is 366 people. Though it took me a mere three people before l got a birthday match. According to a recent survey in America most people are born on October 5th and a possible reason for this is that New Years Eve was around nine drunken months previous. Though i am yet to find someone with this Birthday. The survey also said May 22nd was the least common birth date, yet i have actually found one, single sole for that date. So not all statistics are true. So far its May 25th and June 20th at the top. The date of Feburary 29th only happens once every four years because of leap years which are 366 days long and happen every four years because of...


... The normal length of two successive vernal equinoxes is called a tropical year, and it is about 365.2422 days long.
Using a calendar with 365 days would result in an extra of 0.2422 days or almost 6 hours per year. After 100 years, this calendar would be more than 24 days extra(and i think a year is long enough already). By adding leap years approximately every 4th year, there is the difference between twenty-four days and one extra day.


Or something like that anyway ask your physics teacher if you are desperate to know. The main reason i brought that up was because if there is anyone you know born on the 29th February their real age is four times less than it is now. Which is another birthday fact. Also, if you think about it your actual birthday only occurs once every seven years, at least. As the date of your birth moves forward every year and won't return for seven years(leave out leap years this time). For example i was born on Sunday May 31st 1992 so my next "real" birthday is in 2009.


So after finding out one thing i was intrigued to find out there was a lot more behind the Cake and presents that seemed so routine. i suppose they had to start somewhere. 'Guessing that when you celebrate your birthday you aren't doing it to wish away evil spirits? That is where the tradition originates and you would be close to your family and friends to protect yourself and cards would be sent from those who couldn't make it. Nowadays it is all for fun(which is what it should be). it is not quite known where the tradition of a birthday cake originates from but it is thought that the ancient Greeks made a round cake(to symbolise the moon) to the goddess of the moon - Artemis. Candles were added to make it look like a glowing moon. Though it is also thought to originate to the German's "geburtsagorten." Which means "Birthday Place" so it would have been used to celebrate birthdays. The first children's birthday party was held in Germany, it was called "Kinderfeste."


Birthdays are celebrated differently all over the world. Russians do not get birthday cakes, they get birthday pies. instead of icing the messages are engraved onto the pie crust. Until recently most Japanese children celebrated their birthday on January 1st, but now they are beginning to celebrate on their actual birthdays. After leaving primary one of the things that frightened me about my birthday was getting "The Bumps"(though the name has been loosely changed to "the Dumps") This included the "happy" birthday boy/girl being thrown to the sky's and quickly hurled to the ground at a stop speed. if you are in luck it won't be face down. This happening once for every year, and of course one for luck. "The Bumps" is a tradition from Ireland but not the only violent tradition. in Italy and Brazil the child gets a pull on the earlobe for every year of existence and apparently it is a tradition of the home country that the child gets a smack on the behind for every year, thankfully i haven't encountered that one before. One of the stranger traditions is from Canada; the child is first "ambushed" and then greased on the nose with butter (or margarine) and is then thought to be too slippery for evil spirits to catch them.


Our birthday has also been used as a sign into our personality using Astrology. This is when the positions of the stars can be interpreted into readings to organize personality or affairs. The horoscope astrology is the main branch of astrology related to your birthday. Early astrologers made the signs of the zodiac and named them after the constellations they felt were most important; Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. if your are born between March 21st and April 20th then you are Aries and it works that if you are Taurus you would be born between April 21st and May 21st and about a month for each from there. There's also hundreds of symbols and objects such as flowers and precious stones which are not only meant to be the one dedicated to our month it also tell us more about our personality but that we need not know. Though people do find some sort of personal satisfaction out which stone is theirs, and every one of their friends.

So there you go there is more to your birthday than cake and presents.

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