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A birthday is a day or anniversary of the particular month and day on which a person was born. Birthdays are celebrated in numerous cultures, often with a gift, party or rite of passage. Although the major religions celebrate the birth of their founders (e.g., Buddha’s Birthday), Christmas – which is celebrated widely by Christians and non-Christians alike – is the most prominent example. In contrast, certain religious groups express principled opposition to the very idea of celebrating birthdays. In most legal systems, one becomes a legal adult on a particular birthday (often the 14th through 21st), and reaching age-specific milestones confers particular rights and responsibilities. At certain ages, one may become subject to military conscription or become eligible to enlist in the military, to marry without parental consent, to vote, to legally purchase (or consume) alcohol and tobacco products, to purchase lottery tickets, or to obtain a driver’s license.
Many cultures have one or more coming of age birthdays: The birthdays of historically significant people, like national heroes or founders, are often commemorated by an official holiday. Some saints are remembered by a liturgical feast (sometimes on a presumed birthday). By analogy, the Latin term Dies natalis is applied to the anniversary of an institution (such as a university).