Music: Bjork – Vespertine
Today is my 46th birthday. I have completed 46 years since my birth in 1959.
In a few days I will be 48 according to the Chinese way of counting. In China one is considered 1 year old when born and a year is added on the first day of every lunar calendar. In 1959 the lunar year started on February 8th, exactly a week after I was born. That means a week after I was born I was already 2 years old according to the Chinese count…
Because the lunar year started February 8th, I am a dog (1958) rather than a boar (1959).
February 9th, 2005 is the beginning of the new lunar year of the rooster – and I will turn 48. Two birthdays in one month. But, Chinese people don’t celebrate a meager 48 years…
Traditionally, Chinese people do not pay a lot of attention to birthdays until they are 60 years old. The 60th birthday is regarded as a very important point of life and therefore there is often a big celebration. After that, a birthday celebration is held every ten years, that is the 70th, the 80th, etc, until the person’s death. Generally, the older the person is, the greater the celebration occasion is.
Western: It is all about me and my birthday. Birthday is a celebration of the individual.
Eastern: It is about us and we all celebrate our birthday on the same day – lunar new year. Birthday is a celebration of the group/society.
(Zen: What birthday? Who’s born?)
Aren’t those all different facets of the same diamond? All constructs of the mind, concepts that are neither true nor untrue. I wish we would all celebrate both birthdays. We could light a candle on our individual birthday and throw a big party on our mankind birthday!