Do you guys celebrate birthdays? Why or why not? Why do Jehovah's Witnesses not celebrate birthdays?

The Jehovah's Witnesses believe that birthday celebrations originated in pagan customs, such as blowing out of the candles on a birthday cake. They reject anything connected, however remotely, to pagan practices. They also believe that birthdays give excessive importance to an individual, which they feel is contrary to a humble attitude.

The Bible records that people have celebrated birthdays, though the ones mentioned were not godly people. Pharaoh had a birthday party (Genesis 40:20) as did Herod (Matthew 14:6-11). Some make a big deal that people lost their lives at these events. However, the time of the event in both cases were not the cause of the deaths, it just gives us a time reference. The baker lost his life most likely because investigations showed that he made an attempt on Pharaoh's life. Remember that the wine taster was restored on the same occasion. John lost his head because Herodias took advantage of a drunk husband who made a bad offer to give his step-daughter anything she wanted, up to half his kingdom. The occasion explains why Herod was drunk, but the death of John was not directly connected to Herod's birthday. In other words, it wasn't birthday that was the problem, but that worldly men used it as excuse to become drunk and have lewd entertainment.

A bit more obscure, it appears that Job's children celebrated the birthdays of their siblings. "And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did regularly" (Job 1:4-5). It appears Job remembered his children's birthdays with blessings and sacrifices on their behalf.

Birthdays were remembered, as seen with Moses, "And he said to them: "I am one hundred and twenty years old today. I can no longer go out and come in. Also the LORD has said to me, 'You shall not cross over this Jordan.'" (Deuteronomy 31:2).

Though the occasions, if any are needed, are not mentioned, the Bible does mention parents giving gifts to their children. "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!" (Matthew 7:11).

The conclusion is that birthdays and birthday celebrations are mentioned in the Bible, but they are mentioned as events without condemnation. In Herod's birthday party, evil things took place at the party, but there is no mention that the party itself was wrong.

See also:

Questions and Answers regarding Jehovah's Witnesses
Articles about Jehovah's Witnesses