Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Celebrating birthday inside the Wall

When one celebrates his birthday in the seminary, expect it to be a blast.

As we stay in a huge dormitory, warm birthday gestures greet the celebrant at the sound of the morning bell. It's been my personal favorite to greet a birthday celebrant right after springing from the bed. It’s like telling the person “Hey! I’m one of your first well-wishers!”

In the celebration of the community Mass, the celebration is asked to be the lector or be the altar server as a way of thanking God for the gift of life. The community also prays for him not only during the Holy Mass but also in almost all the practices of piety of the community.

In the mess hall, during breakfast, all gather around the person as they render the traditional seminary birthday song. The choreographed steps, the laughter, the claps all contribute to making the occasion a real festive event. After all, it only comes once a year!

Along with birthday notes/tokens/cards secretly placed in the drawer of the celebrant, well-crafted birthday boards peppered with interesting photos of the person are in place for the entire day in the refectory.

A seminarian celebrating his birthday will never fail to feel that he is, indeed, special!

A birthday celebrant caps off the day as he renders a birthday speech which would take the place of the goodnight talk of the formators.

When I was a postulant, we would exert an effort to make more special the day in which one of the members of the batch would celebrate his birthday. Aside from the birthday board prepared in the refectory, we would set up our very own right in the smack of our dormitory.

The birthday board we provide for a celebrant-classmate is set up in the middle of the night. We wait for sometime to wait for the person to sleep so that we can quietly go down to the study hall extension in order to rummage in the cabinet of the arts group of the seminary to get some materials for the birthday board.

These photographs were taken two years ago. The one who dons the birthday cap is our birthday celebrant. The first one features Joseph (Birthday: November 12) and the second one is about Jesvir (birthday: November 14).

Now, you may wish to ask, “why did I post these?”

Two simple reasons.

It’s their birthday; and they are special.