The trouble of being a twin is organising parties. My sister always wants a big party with lots of friends and family, I however enjoy having a quiet get together with my mates. That's being a twin for you, so alike, yet so different.
When I was younger I felt like my birthday took forever to come around, the middle of September just couldn't come soon enough. Now as I approach leaving the teen years and into my twenties September comes around at double speed.
Turning twenty has a different feel, the other day at a soccer game a player on my neighbour's team was wearing a bonds campaign shirt for "I am DD/MM/YY" with his number being "I am 4/8/2005", I started high school that year and now he is in under 8 soccer.
As time feels like it is speeding up, it will continue on its current speed of 86,400 seconds, 1440 minutes, 24 hours, 1 day. With God by my side I look forward to my next chapter of my life as I slowly head towards adulthood and middle age – gasp!
Birthdays have significance
Historically, in Australia an individual's birthday is celebrated by a party with family and friends where a specially made cake which is usually decorated with lettering and the person's age, is presented along with the birthday song and then "He's a Jolly Good Fellow" - you can see why I prefer a quieter birthday.
An Australian birthday cake is traditionally studded with the same number of lit candles as the age of the individual, or a number candle representing their age. The celebrated individual will usually make a silent wish and attempts to blow out the candles in one breath; if successful, it means the wish will be granted. Everyone is smiling from ear to ear and I feel obliged to equal the facial manicure.
We're told from childhood that the wish must be kept secret or it won't "come true". Presents are given to the individual by the guests appropriate to his/her age. Other birthday activities may include entertainment (sometimes even by a hired professional, i.e. a clown, magician or musician), and a special toast or speech by the birthday boy/girl celebrant.
Next year is supposed to be a special birthday for us twins – 21. I'm going to need to make a special effort to be gracious. I have a year to get prepared!
As a nation we celebrate the birthday of the nation, Australia Day, 26 January and that is a day Australians genuinely recognise what a remarkable country we live in. The Queen's Birthday is celebrated in June and there has been some discussion that this might be changed.
Jesus Christ's birth traditional birthday is celebrated in Australia on 25 December as it is around the world and some Eastern Churches use the Julian calendar celebrating Jesus' birth on 7 January (Julian calendar). The perennial question in the West is that Christmas tends to have a major emphasis on marketing and retail sales rather than a celebration of the Saviour's birth.
For all of this, birthdays are very special, and for us as twins. it is the annual occasion that our joint birth date is marked by my parents, family and friends as being a time of thanksgiving to God. That's a pretty good excuse to celebrate.
Christopher Archibald lives in Sydney and is an under-graduate student.
Christopher Archibald's previous articles can be viewed at (www.pressserviceinternational.org/christopher-archibald.html)