What does your birthday mean? Is your birthday meaningful to you? How would it feel to not have a birthday? I wonder these things because I don't know when my birthday is. We all have a "birth date", but I'm not sure when my exact date of birthday is. Back in the mountains of Thailand where I was born, we didn't have a calendar system. We woke up when the roosters crowed, ate lunch when the sun was straight above our heads, went home from our farms when the sun started to set. We didn't document of our the time and date of when we were born. Honestly, it's because we didn't have the means to do so. We didn't know that writing existed. When it was introduced to the Hmong, it wasn't something that was taught to everyone. We simply didn't know how to or and have the utensils to be able to.
On my license, my birthday reads September 17th, 1986. According to my parents, I was born sometime around late Spring or early Summer - not quite September 17th. The Hmong people are agricultural people so they are very knowledgeable with the harvest cycle - that's how they kept track of seasons. They knew when you had to plant rice, or specific herbs, or vegetables. They knew when you had to harvest them. If you asked my parents for when I was actually born, they'll tell you that it was during a certain time of harvest which happened to fall around late Spring to early Summer. That's my extent of knowledge on when my birthday is.
How was my birthday choosen? I often get asked if the year which is on my license real. I've asked my parents this too. From what they have told me, the birthday is relatively accurate. The year I was indicated to have been born is relatively correct with the actual date to be randomly (but strategically) chosen. During the immigration paperwork, my parents were prompt to choose birthdays for four of their children - I was the only girl in this four. I'm not sure if my brothers are aware or have ever thought about it, however all of our birthdays fall after Labor Day. In America, the school year starts after Labor Day. You were supposed to turn a certain age during this school year. For example, you were supposed to turn eight years old during your second grade school year. By having our birthdays after Labor Day, we would be old within kids of our grade. This gave us the advantage of starting school at a lower grade and we wanted this because of our lack of English speaking skills. All of my sisters are younger and were born in hospitals so their birthdays were accurately recorded. This is how September 17th became a part of my life. What does your birthday mean?