Birthday Morning Tradition

Text: The informant’s parents wake them up with balloons and by singing the happy birthday song every year.

Context: The informant thought that everyone had this tradition when she was growing up. She learned that it was specific to her family at her 10th birthday sleepover party, where the informant’s friends woke her up that morning before her parents did, without singing or balloons. She refused to start the year off badly so she went back to sleep until her parents woke her up with the singing and balloons she was expecting. Additionally, her parents were the one’s who started this tradition for their family. They did not learn it from other generations. The informant has had this tradition every year since she can remember.

Analysis: Traditions like this, which are only between family, could be a way of creating a feeling of distinction from other families or people outside of the family. Since this family is the only one who knows the tradition, it is a way of expressing that they are an in-group. It is also a way of expressing love and affection from the parents to their child and making them feel special. Additionally for the informant, since she’s grown used to experiencing this tradition, not experiencing it on a given year is a sign that the year will be thrown off.