The First Birthday9:17 PM
The first birthday of a child is one the most widely celebrated events in a person's life across the world and various cultures. For most people, the completion of one year holds special significance. The remarkable change from a totally helpless infant to a toddler who is slowly but surely discovering the world is something that all families would like to celebrate.
The Year That Was
During the year, there will be several milestones observed along the way. First words and first steps are monumental milestones that happen at about this time. There will be other firsts - first smile, first laugh, first full night sleep, first sit, first crawl, first wave, first solid food, and first stand. All these firsts are sought to be captured in photos to look back to in some future time.
The Year That is About to Come
What is special about the first birthday and the year to come is that it signals more major firsts like running, climbing, eating, playing, scribbling, and some real talking. This is a signal that a child will be gaining more mobility and independence. With a child's new-found abilities, he or she travels the path of discovery.
The first birthday is an event of expectation. It is a true celebration of life where a child can now participate more. It is just the first of what is expected to be a long counting of yearly birthdays until death. It is of special note that some cultures put emphasis on celebrating first birthdays by reason of some existing beliefs. Some believe that celebrating a birthday helps to ward off evil spirits because of the presence of friends and family who bring with them good thoughts and wishes. In Korea, the practice of celebrating the first birthday stemmed from gratitude that a child survived the first year as there was a time that the death toll for children was extremely high because of lack of medical knowledge to address various childhood diseases.
In spite of the common practice of celebrating the first birthday of a child, there are parents who are not especially keen on doing this because of their contention that a one-year-old child is in no position to appreciate such a celebration. Every parent has the right to decide on how to celebrate for a child's first birthday and there is really nothing wrong in opting for a more quiet and private celebration. It is my personal view however that a child's first birthday is very much a celebration of family as much as it is for the child.
That said, I favor holding even a modest celebration in honor of the first birthday of a child. For me, it is part of a child's wonderful memories which he or she can reminisce at a later date through pictures or video. One year old children may not remember the details of their birthday celebrations but parents and family who have taken the time to document this important milestone can still give the gift of happy memories and traditions.
Photo credit: Special thanks to Marie Paz for allowing me to use these pictures from her daughter's first birthday celebration.