“It is the unexpected that happens” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers
Image © Lindsay Lauckner
An Interview with Delia
Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?
A. When I was about 7 years old we celebrated my birthday down by a river and my mum did a treasure hunt where they hid treats under rocks etc. and at the end of the party my auntie Bea, gave me a present of branches tied together and planted in a pot (made to look like a tree) with lots and lots of candy hanging from the branches. (I was never allowed to eat candy as a child so this was a mayor treat). I grew up in a remote part of Spain where there wasn’t really anywhere to buy birthday presents for kids so people had to get creative.
Q. How about the worst? And why?
A. When I turned 30!!! My friends had a surprise party for me but I couldn’t enjoy it because I was feeling depressed about turning 30! And I remember thinking “oh god, I’m old now and not happy about what I had achieved in life”……little did I know that when you hit 40 the feeling is worse! Hahaha
Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?
A. The present that most surprised me was a beautiful antique brooch that I received from a friend who I didn’t expect anything from as we weren’t that close.
Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist on eating during your birthday celebration?
A. No, not really. I would love to say cake but I am not the type of person to organise my own birthday party and my husband is worse than I am ( his birthday is a day later on the 7th August)… so we tend not to acknowledge our birthdays very much. I feel a bit daft buying my own birthday cake but now that I think of it I might just start doing so and not share with anyone!
Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?
A. I love going to other peoples birthdays and i love looking for a nice present for my friends but mainly to me it’s just another day. I do remember as a child being very excited about my birthday coming up as we didn’t have many toys or much money growing up and it was on birthdays and Christmas when I would get parcels from my grandparents. I suppose as an adult the most important aspect for me is just the simple fact that I can give thanks that I have survived another year to see my son grow up.
Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?
A. Not really. However, because my husband’s birthday is a day after mine we tend to go away as a family somewhere nice for the weekend or if not possible we go for a nice dinner. Also all my friends are away on holiday in August and it seems silly to celebrate it a month later so I kind of just ignore the celebration part…..hint hint girlfriends!