How Kids Are Celebrating Their Birthdays During COVID-19
'I would be sad if more of my birthday parties are cancelled because I want to grow older.'
Birthdays are a time of merriment, of midnight phone calls, cake in the face from parents and siblings, and eventually, sadness at the end of the day for not being ‘the special one’ anymore.
Apart from the more serious things the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged, the value of the birthday ritual has gone under the radar. Unless of course, you’re Queen Elizabeth.
To understand how the most excitable birthday demographics celebrated their day in the time of coronavirus, we spoke to kids and young adults from several parts of the world.
Zulaykha ‘Zee’ Servia-Valles, USA, turned 7 on April 12
I love birthdays a lot because you can get older and smarter. It means I can play Monopoly more. But this birthday, only my mom and dad turned up. I missed my friends because I haven’t seen them in a long time. My parents put decorations up, I cut the cake and blew out candles to make a wish. Lots of my family called to wish me. But I’ve had better birthdays.
I hope that I don’t have to do this next year. I wish everybody would be there, my friends, family, and my family’s friends, and have it be a unicorn and Harry Potter themed party. I would be very very sad if more of my birthday parties are cancelled.
Akanksha ‘Anshu’ Bhatt, Indonesia, turned 8 on March 23
My birthday this year wasn’t very different from other years. I played games with my little brother all morning and ate lunch with my family. There was music playing and a few decorations and I got roller-skates as presents! Every year I go to the cake shop with my dad to pick the one I want, but this year my dad went alone and got a cake with icing that was too sweet. My friends didn’t come because of coronavirus but that’s OK because there’s not enough room to play at home.
I love birthdays, especially because I grow older and taller and smarter. It means I’ll get a phone or laptop of my own soon!
Lisa Kalystari, Indonesia, turned 16 on April 5
Since I was little, I dreamed of having a birthday like Abby in the movie ‘16 Wishes.’ Having to settle for a birthday without my friends had me bummed out for a whole week. But on the day, I woke up to messages and gifts delivered to my house by my friends. Knowing they cared enough to make my day special made me incredibly happy.
I was never one for large parties but I really wanted my 16th to be the most special one. Instead, I got to celebrate with my family this year, which was unexpectedly nice. The best part was seeing them put up decorations and receiving a balloon bouquet from my friends.
This wasn’t the birthday I dreamed for, but I enjoyed it all the same.
Shaurya Chandravanshi, UAE, turned 18 on April 6
I’ve never actually liked birthdays. The whole exercise of buying something for your friends, things they most likely will not like, which then creates an obligation for them to do the same doesn’t make sense to me. So, I didn’t really mind this birthday.
It was on a Friday, so I set up two video calls with separate sets of friends on that weekend. One of them went on for over 24 hours, because of time differences, so someone would come online, wish me happy birthday, and then keep joining throughout the day. It was lots of fun actually.
Also read: Parents and Kids Are Unhappy About the Coronavirus-Caused ‘Vacation’