Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Jehovah Witnesses and Holidays?

Why don't J/W's celebrate Birthdays? I know the only two mentions in the bible about birthday's are bad but that doesn't necessarily mean that they don't have to do it.

13 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    I am not a Watchtower Witness and even though I have many relatives who are jws and don't "celebrate" holidays I want to share with you information that was given to me by one wise relative who left the organization shared with me. I had sent her your question because I've been trying to get her interested in signing up for Yahoo Answers.

    Here is her answer to your question (Personally it sounds like a whole lot of gibberish to me but maybe it will make sense to you) -

    There's one more example of birthdays in the Bible, which the witnesses talk around and say it wasn't really about birthdays... the feast days of the children of Job. What else would it be but a birthday if (chapter 1) the feast days were "each on his own day?!"

    The witnesses are all about crowd control. Keeping the flock away from "unbelieving" friends and relatives limits their exposure to the normalcy that could get them out of the cult.

    Here's the JW "explanation" for why Job's kids weren't celebrating birthdays... It's double-talk:

    *** it-1 p. 319 Birthday ***

    When Job’s sons "held a banquet at the house of each one on his own day" it should not be supposed that they were celebrating their birthdays. (Job 1:4) "Day" in this verse translates the Hebrew word yohm and refers to a period of time from sunrise to sunset. On the other hand, "birthday" is a compound of the two Hebrew words yohm (day) and hul·le´dheth. The distinction between "day" and one’s birthday may be noted in Genesis 40:20, where both expressions appear: "Now on the third day [yohm] it turned out to be Pharaoh’s birthday [literally, "the day (yohm) of the birth (hul·le´dheth) of Pharaoh"]." So it is certain that Job 1:4 does not refer to a birthday, as is unquestionably the case at Genesis 40:20. It would seem that Job’s seven sons held a family gathering (possibly a spring or harvest festival) and as the feasting made the week-long circuit, each son hosted the banquet in his own house "on his own day."

    *** w68 5/15 pp. 318-319 Questions from Readers ***

    • Does Job 1:4 indicate that Job’s children celebrated their birthdays?—F. D., England.

    No, that verse does not apply to birthdays. A little examination of the matter will show this. The verse reads: "And [Job’s] sons went and held a banquet at the house of each one on his own day; and they sent and invited their three sisters to eat and drink with them."

    In the English Bible the word "birthday" appears in Genesis 40:20, where we read of the birthday celebration of the pagan Pharaoh of Egypt. Consulting Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, one will see that "birthday" is a compound of the two Hebrew words yowm (meaning, a day [as the warm hours], whether literally or figuratively) and hullédeth from yalad (meaning, to bear young). However, in the Hebrew Scriptures the word "day" (yowm) is often used alone, referring simply to some day. This distinction between "day" and "birthday" may be noted in Genesis 40:20, where both expressions appear: "Now on the third day [yowm] it turned out to be Pharaoh’s birthday [literally, ‘the day (yowm) of the birth (hullédeth) of Pharaoh’]."

    At Job 1:4 hullédeth does not appear; only yowm is used in the Hebrew text. So it speaks of Job’s sons’ doing something "each one on his own day," not ‘each one on his own birthday.’

    The Bible does not go into detail as to what occasioned the banquets. It may have been that at a particular season, such as harvesttime, the seven sons held a family gathering, and as the feasting made the week-long circuit, each son hosted the banquet in his house "on his own day." Or the feasts could have been of the nature of family reunions held at different times in the year. This picture of a warm and happy family gathering, in contrast to the wild celebrations marked by dissipation and overindulgence in food and drink on the part of ones who have no respect for God, is further indicated by the fact that the sons considerately invited their sisters.

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  • X
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Consider the associations of those two birthdays mentioned in the Bible. In both cases, the ones doing the celebrating of the birthday were individuals who did not worship Jehovah God, and they ended up murdering someone at this celebration. In the second occurrence of a birthday in the Bible, God's own prophet, John the Baptizer was murdered. There is no mistaking that both of the occasions for birthday celebrations in the Bible are put in a very negative light. There is no indication that the ancient Israelites celebrated their birthdays, that the first century Christians celebrated theirs, and think about this: the Bible never gives the exact date for Jesus Christ's birth. Don't you think of the celebrating of birthdays was something God approved of that above anyone else's we'd celebrate Jesus'? But we do not. The Bible ONLY commands Christians to celebrate Jesus' death. NOT his birth, and NOT his resurrection.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Regarding birthday celebrations, bible students are encouraged to consider:

    : 0% of faithful biblical Jews celebrated birthdays

    : 0% of first century Christians celebrated birthdays

    : 100% of birthdays celebrated in the bible were by debauched enemies of God (See Mark 6:17-29; Gen 40:19-22)

    Bible historians (M'Clintock, Strong, and others) have noted that faithful Jews of the bible did not celebrate birthdays, and that ancient pagan birthday celebrations were at least partially intended to honor the patron gods of the particular day.

    By comparison with such paganisms, the bible does not even tell us the birthdates of Jesus or ANY of his apostles!

    Since such celebrations are not required in true worship, and can easily become a distraction, so Jehovah's Witnesses focus their attention elsewhere. In particular, they are focussed on the preaching work which *IS* a requirement for Christians:

    (Luke 10:1-17) [Jesus] the Lord designated seventy others and sent them forth by twos in advance of him into every city and place to which he himself was going to come. 2 Then he began to say to them: “The harvest, indeed, is great, but the workers are few. Therefore beg the Master of the harvest to send out workers into his harvest.

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  • VW
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    JW do not share in birthday festivities because they tend to give excessive importance to an individual. They point out that only two birthday celebrations are mentioned in some detail in the Bible (Gen.40:20-22, Mark 6:21-28) Both men were pagan, and both executed a person in connection with their birthday celebration.

    Response to that: God has not commanded or forbidden birthday celebrations. Pagans pray. That does not make praying wrong. Pagans celebrate their birthday. That need not stop us from celebrating ours. Yes, Pharaoh and Herod were cruel men, but they put people to death on many occasions, not just birthdays. Job 1:4 also refers to a birthday celebration. Job's sons used to go and hold a feast in the house of each on his day. A birthday celebration is a time to thank God and rejoice. God does not condemn it.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The main reason for this is that the celebration of births originated with pagans.... They celebrated births because it was their belief that on that day evil spirits would try to attack them and cause them harm.... That is why they light candles on birthday cakes (to ward of spirits) ....

    Even though most people practicing these things do not know the meaning of what they are doing and do not have the same intentions as that of the pagans, this does not make it ok. To illustrate: suppose you sent you child to school and he/ she came back swearing at you.... this child does not know the meaning of what he/she is saying.... would you be ok with this if that were the case?....of course not!

    Even in the bible, the persons who celebrated births were not worshippers of God. And since christians are followers of christ, we should be imitators of him and no one else.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    We don't do them because they trace back to pagan origins of people celebrating the day of thei birth. Jesus himself didn't even celebrate his own birthday. Nor did he notice anyone else's. The only thing he told us to remember of his was his death which was a sacrifice willfuly made by him for mankind. And just to clarify...anything the Bible speaks of as negative should be viewed as such by true worshippers. If God went through the trouble to mention TWICE B-days in a negative way, it clearly shows us his attitude towards them. Sometimes we just have to read between the lines & sometimes its RIGHT there in front of us. Think of it like this: If you wrote a book & spoke negatively about, let's say "Wedding Anniversaries", isn't it logical that you are against them? Yes. And for people who are gonna ask "JW's don't celebrate anniversaries??!?" YES we do. They aren't mentioned in the Bible as something we shouldn't do.

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  • To follow the leadings of the holy spirit is to follow the teachings of the Scriptures. It is no different than the "big issue" of blood and transfusions.

    If I wrote a book and every time I mentioned Califlower it was in a negative light what would you think I would think about Califlower? You would hopefully come to understand that I don't like it at all, as per my writings on the subject they were very negative.

    This is something that many refuse to understand so when other subjects come up like fornication, adultery, stealing, bad language or homosexuality people either take notice of what God has said by means of his holy spirit, which the Bible is a product of or they use their free will and make their own decisions.

    Those who consciously follow the leadings of God spirit are greatly benefited.

    Here is more secular info regarding birthdays:

    How did early Christians and Jews of Bible times view birthday celebrations?

    “The notion of a birthday festival was far from the ideas of the Christians of this period in general.”—The History of the Christian Religion and Church, During the Three First Centuries (New York, 1848), Augustus Neander (translated by Henry John Rose), p. 190.

    “The later Hebrews looked on the celebration of birthdays as a part of idolatrous worship, a view which would be abundantly confirmed by what they saw of the common observances associated with these days.”—The Imperial Bible-Dictionary (London, 1874), edited by Patrick Fairbairn, Vol. I, p. 225.

    What is the origin of popular customs associated with birthday celebrations?

    “The various customs with which people today celebrate their birthdays have a long history. Their origins lie in the realm of magic and religion. The customs of offering congratulations, presenting gifts and celebrating—complete with lighted candles—in ancient times were meant to protect the birthday celebrant from the demons and to ensure his security for the coming year. . . . Down to the fourth century Christianity rejected the birthday celebration as a pagan custom.”—Schwäbische Zeitung (magazine supplement Zeit und Welt), April 3/4, 1981, p. 4.

    “The Greeks believed that everyone had a protective spirit or daemon who attended his birth and watched over him in life. This spirit had a mystic relation with the god on whose birthday the individual was born. The Romans also subscribed to this idea. . . . This notion was carried down in human belief and is reflected in the guardian angel, the fairy godmother and the patron saint. . . . The custom of lighted candles on the cakes started with the Greeks. . . . Honey cakes round as the moon and lit with tapers were placed on the temple altars of [Artemis]. . . . Birthday candles, in folk belief, are endowed with special magic for granting wishes. . . . Lighted tapers and sacrificial fires have had a special mystic significance ever since man first set up altars to his gods. The birthday candles are thus an honor and tribute to the birthday child and bring good fortune. . . . Birthday greetings and wishes for happiness are an intrinsic part of this holiday. . . . Originally the idea was rooted in magic. . . . Birthday greetings have power for good or ill because one is closer to the spirit world on this day.”—The Lore of Birthdays (New York, 1952), Ralph and Adelin Linton, pp. 8, 18-20.

    Source(s): Reasoning From the Scriptures 1989 Page 69-70 source of secular information
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  • linnon
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Why is it so puzzling for persons to stand those truths and then snicker at others for following the fact? The lack of understanding of the numerous outwiegh the coronary heart of the few. sturdy stuff, follow it. Celebrating Jesus' birthday is got here upon the place in the Bible? i think I ignored that financial disaster. in case you opt to rejoice Jesus' present to us, then do it familiar...

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  • 1 decade ago

    because jw's have some twisted beliefs. they don't celebrate birthdays but will celebrate the just as pagan practise of gifts at a wedding.

    they basically do whatever the jw hq at brooklyn, new york tell them to.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    For the same reason we do not ask for tithing Jesus nor his disciple didn´t do such kind of celebration

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