30th Birthday Ideas During Pandemic – It was exactly 8 o’clock. On March 19, Alexandra Purnomo, a school teacher in Rome, decided that all rules were over. She was on coronavirus lockdown, but it was her birthday.
So Ms Purnomo, 38, and a roommate opened a bottle of Prosecco for breakfast. Later, she went away for a raucous meeting in Via della Villa di Lucina, where another friend brought out – untouched – a piece of birthday tiramisù.
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As Ms. Purnomo sat down to eat lunch when she returned home, her roommate turned her laptop around to face her and there they were: about a dozen friends on Zoom, wishing Ms. Purnomo a happy birthday. One of them was wearing a boa. They sang, held signs and raised glasses in toasts.
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“Everybody was eating, and chatting, and obviously everybody was drinking, because we’re all in quarantine anyway,” she said.
It’s a birthday party in the age of the coronavirus, when family and friends will celebrate another year of life with new gratitude, against the joys of the virus that have denied many people.
The pandemic has challenged traditional celebrations in ways that reflect the harsh realities of social distancing requirements, travel difficulties and supply shortages.
Family and friends, previously celebrated in person, are now coming together in the virtual world. The kids who occupied party spaces or apartments in recent years are now gridded in Zoom — still proud, but at least there’s less to clean up.
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Pictures of gifts delayed in transit are printed and wrapped as placeholders. Custom cakes are left at the door. Packages have been deleted. Magic shows are performed online.
In interviews, more than a dozen people who have recently planned or celebrated their birthdays agreed that people who are struggling financially, sick or dying, no matter how they change or downgrade, they feel lucky to have a party.
“Part of it is realizing that the celebration is really, really, about love,” said Sara Franzreb, a nurse practitioner in New York. For their daughter Sloane’s first birthday, the family planned to decorate her high chair, put a glittery hat on her and wrap Ms. Franzreb’s oldest child’s toys. They B.Y.O.C., relatives in three states. (Bring Your Own Cake) Online Party.
In times of great anxiety and stress, such as during war or epidemics, adults’ behavior is more ritualistic, said Dimitris Zaigalatas, a professor of anthropology and psychology at the University of Connecticut. Birthday parties have a softer meaning, and the more effort they put in and the more witnesses there are, the greater the sense of significance, he said.
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“When you can’t celebrate as you normally would, you lose the human connection,” Dr. Xygalatas said. “Humans are finding ways to make up for it, synchronizing activities so that we feel like we’re human.”
Among the ways people find out: a driving party, where kids wave from cars as they pull out of the birthday boy or girl’s house watching from inside. There’s also a walking party, like the one 6-year-old Jane Chester in Illinois did on March 24.
His mother, Kimberly Chester, reflected on the daily commute her family made to the Deerfield neighborhood after the shutdown. The day before Jane’s birthday, she asked neighbors on Facebook to put signs in bold letters on their windows, so she could see them when she walked by.
Jane Chester, left, celebrates her sixth birthday in Deerfield, Ill. Ma celebrated during a social outing on March 24 with his brother, Kellen. Credits… Jonathan Chester
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The community responded. Walking through the neighborhood on the big day, the Chester family found cars with chalk balloons and birthday messages on the sidewalk. A woman leaves a cake with Batman on her porch. Some of them greeted Jane from the threshold of their front door.
And then there’s the backup party. In New York City, attendees at a recent birthday block party stood — six feet apart — outside a friend’s building to wish her luck. Stamford, Conn. On March 22, Liatte Lasher, a teacher, and her friends got into seven cars and parked outside the house of another friend, who turned 35 that day.
They put on hats, and blew on the noise makers. “People want to make this year extra special,” she said.
Elizabeth Shepherd, 35, a car service owner in Brooklyn, canceled a vacation trip for her March 26 birthday. He stayed at home, grateful for the company of his wife Mona and the music they enjoyed together. “I’m glad not to be sick, that’s for sure,” Ms Shepherd said.
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Epidemic birthday size, especially for the elderly, can be determined by risk tolerance. Siri Bjerknes Ikeberg, who lives in Oslo, said she, her husband and children lit candles on sticks from home, and her mother-in-law, who turned 74 on March 23, watched FaceTime from a safe distance from her. Concerned about his health.
In New York City, Nadia Nguyen was creating an “epidemic cookbook” as a gift for her husband’s 35th birthday. It was a collection of recipes using ingredients cooked by friends in their kitchens. Entry of Ms. Nguyen herself, along with the kale pesto she and her husband found in the freezer.
According to Tim Riskens, professor of sociology at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, a person’s date of birth defines past rituals, generational order and expectations of aging. He said, birthday celebration is the most important part of society’s annual rituals.
“As societies become more economically affluent, people place more emphasis on self-expression,” Dr. rescens. “This growth has to do with personalization.”
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New York City teacher Teresa Chee, 39, and her husband Ryan Bagg brought a guitar and tambourine to celebrate their son Rowan’s fourth birthday. His previous parties were crowded with children and adults in the park or at his grandparents’ building.
But this month, it was just four people in her apartment, including 1-year-old Josh. On the morning of Rowan’s birthday, they wake him up with four candles on a piece of coffee cake. Her gifts delivered, bath toys ordered online. All day videos, messages and singing Animojis tricks from faraway friends and relatives.
“You do what you can,” said Miss Chee. “I’m sure she still feels like it’s her birthday. But it’s not the same.” Birthdays are a big deal in my house. We usually celebrate by getting together with a few friends, sharing good food and wine, and drifting into the wee hours.
But when my husband, Don’s, birthday came around this year, we were on lockdown like everyone else — and creativity was called for. So, I posted love poems around the house the night before, baked his mom’s famous chocolate cake, and organized a surprise birthday ritual for Zoom with a few close friends holding candles and sending him warm wishes.
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Why go to all the trouble? Like weddings and other rituals, birthday parties are about more than just one person. They bring friends and families together, strengthening the bonds that exist in our society. They remind us that we are not alone in facing our own mortality. They are a great excuse to eat cake.
We’re all going to celebrate a birthday (or maybe two or three) under the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. Even if these are easy, we may not be ready to risk large social gatherings. Although some people do not like to celebrate their birthdays, it does not go unnoticed-
In a study in the United Kingdom, researchers asked people to describe their birthday celebrations and the impact the festivities had on them at two points in time.
They came to some interesting conclusions: the rituals associated with birthdays – such as giving cards and gifts, or sharing cakes or food – add meaning and significance to them. They provide a sense of “collective continuity”—meaning we’re all going through life together—that helps us feel less focused on our individual age.
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Birthday celebrations also make us feel loved, which can be a great way to boost our mental health—especially during stressful times. And birthdays can be especially important for children, helping them understand the concept of aging and building their self-esteem and cementing their sense of belonging in their family.
Birthdays (and other time markers) can also be times to reevaluate our lives. Research suggests that birthdays help motivate people to make important changes—like exercising more or starting a healthier diet—and to pursue intentional life goals. Birthdays seem to help us put our “old self” behind us for the future, developing a self that helps us move forward on our life’s path.
Of course, birthdays often give us the opportunity to participate in shared rituals: emotional group gatherings that help us transcend the present moment and enhance our relationships with others. Research shows that shared rituals shape us