Birthday Beheading

G is 39 years old, he was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia and moved to Los Angeles three years ago. He explained why he did not celebrate birthdays growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness in a conversation with me.

“I don’t know if this is a legend of a myth… I grew up a Jehovah’s Witness and we never celebrated birthdays, and the reason we never celebrated birthdays was because in the bible every time someone had a birthday… well my parents told me… and I never researched to see if it was true… but someone would die, or there would be a fire or get decapitated and I always wanted a birthday but I was afraid I would die or be decapitated on my birthday. I think the first birthday I celebrated… I was in college, and it was my 21st birthday, I went to school in Savannah and my friends took me out to River Street. I was not scared, I was actually really excited… by that time I knew people weren’t dying on their birthdays!”

The Jehovah’s Witness website gives a few reasons for not celebrating birthday. The main one seems to be because it is considered a pagan celebration and there is mention of only two birthdays in the bible; in Genesis 40: 20-22 There is a beheading and a birthday thrown by the Pharoah and in Mark 6: 20-21 another beheading on Herod’s birthday.