“A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip.” – Anonymous

A couple of weeks ago shouts of Happy Birthday America rang out across the land. July Fourth certainly is the most celebrated birthday in the nation.

On the other hand, October 5th is said to be the most common birth date because it comes nine months after the popular conception date New Year’s Eve. Nevertheless, according to astrologers, July is the month that produces the happiest babies. It’s also when the natal days of well-known celebrities, such as Tom Cruise, Ringo Starr, Princess Diana, George Bush, Rembrandt, Julius Caesar, J. K. Rowling and Alexander the Great are celebrated.

A piece of birthday trivia gleaned from the St. Johns County Facebook page is that St. Johns County celebrates its 200th birthday this month. On July 21, 1821, Andrew Jackson established it as one of the first two counties in Florida’s territory. More than half the counties in the state were carved from St. John’s boundaries.

Celebrating birthdays is a pagan tradition that didn’t begin until calendars were invented. Ancient folks paid attention to the cycles of the moon and the change of seasons and marked the changes in time, creating a calendar of sorts.

Ancient Greeks thought spirits present on the day of a person’s birth developed a mystical relationship with them, and so they offered tributes to these gods in the form of moon-shaped cakes adorned with lit candles symbolizing the sending of a prayer to the gods.

Early Christians considered birthdays pagan celebrations, but changed their thinking and started celebrating the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

On July 8, 1776 the Declaration of Independence was read in Philadelphia’s Independence Square. On July 4, 1777, Congress celebrated America’s first birthday with bonfires, ringing bells and fireworks. U.S. citizens have celebrated this country’s birthday for 245 years with cookouts, parades, speeches and fireworks. Nothing beats July 4 for a spectacular birthday bash.

*The Final word…As I have a significant birthday (aren’t they all?) coming up in a couple of weeks, I try to keep in mind the words of British comedian Norman Wisdom: “As you get older three things happen. The first is your memory goes, and I can’t remember the other two.”