Birthday in Tagalog

“How old are you” or “ilang taon ka na” in Tagalog seems to be a basic question that is asked when a person is celebrating a birthday. Youngsters get asked this question often on their birthday and often do not mind answering at all. Many young people often await this day with enthusiasm because they expect to get a lot of gifts or receive cash as a present from family and friends. For adults, another birthday means another year farther away from youth. The line, “lagpas na sa kalendaryo,” or “way past the calendar” is an expression one will frequently hear used by those who are in their thirties or older.

For Filipinos, a birthday, which is “kaarawan” in the Tagalog language, is considered to be the most appropriate time to draw friends and family together. This occasion is commemorated with a party where people eat (kain), drink (inom) and have fun (magpakasaya). This merry-making usually lasts until the early hours of the morning. At such celebrations you find food on the table such as fried chicken (piniritong manok), spaghetti (espageti), rice cakes (kakanin), and softdrinks (sopdrinks).

For the kids, parents organize celebrations for the kids in restaurants that cater to such events. Others just have a party at their own house, which is a more cost-effective way of celebrating the birthday. This kind of party has lots of games (palaro) and gift bags (regalo) for the kids (para sa mga bata).

Another tradition that cannot be forgotten is the singing of happy birthday (maligayang bati), after which the celebrant blows out the lighted candles (kandila) on the cake (keyk) and makes a wish (kahilingan). The Tagalong version of the birthday song goes like this, “Maligayang bati!” which is repeated several times. Of course, one of the awaited moments at birthdays is the opening of gifts (regalo). The most common gifts which Filipinos often get are personal items like handkerchief, umbrella and belts. Customized shirts and mug with the celebrant’s picture are among the favorites. But the most liked gift is the monetary gift (pakimkim) placed inside an envelope.

There are certain birthdays which are celebrated and receive more attention more so than others. The first and seventh birthdays are usually celebrated by the direct family of a female. The eighteenth birthday is also celebrated for females. This celebration ceremony is known as “the eighteen roses.” The girl’s female friends are also given a chance to wish her well, this occurs as part of the ceremony called “the eighteen candles.” The twenty-first birthday is the equivalent debut party for boys, also popularly known as a bachelor’s party.

Other birthday which hold greater significance are those of the 50th and 60th birthday. When age 50, also called “golden year” comes, a birthday celebration happens. At the 60th birthday, a celebration to welcome the person to senior citizenship is also held..

A birthday is a significant day which commemorates the arrival of a friend or a family member into the world. As such, it is good to remember the birthday of your friend or family member. Birthdays should not be about the cake, the party, the gifts, and other material things. A birthday is about being happy and being thankful for the presence of your beloved in this world.