Celebrating one's birthday with the less privileged might seem to be a magnanimous approach to charity and goodwill, assuming, as we do, that it would make the world appear slightly better for them. But do the less privileged really like to shower birthday blessings on someone they don't even know?
A question raised by a Quora user has sparked a debate on "How right is it to celebrate a birthday at an orphanage?'
Does celebrating birthdays and other festivities benefit the children and provide them a happy day of celebration or is it actually a reminder to them on what they are missing - their own birthday parties?.
Rujuta Pendharkar Singh wrote that although the gifts and pleasantries impress the children, celebrating birthdays with them on Sundays, the only day they are allowed to "get up late, not go to school, enjoy and play all day" drains them and they are made to sing and cheer as if a 'routine to be played out every weekend.'
Imagine, you only get a Sunday to get up late, not go to school, enjoy and play all day. But every Sunday, strangers come to your home, to enjoy their birthdays and anniversaries... By celebrating our birthdays at an orphanage, we make the orphans feel like orphans. Instead of celebrating your birthday with them, why not celebrate their birthday with them?, she asked.
Another user by the name Manoj Charantimath suggested it was important to share birthdays and other important days in orphanages as "it gives the deprived one a chance to enjoy the evenings with good food and sometimes presents from the celebrities." However, he says, "Nowadays this has become a fashion to celebrate such events in such places, making a show off and bragging their actions in public, uploading the pictures on Facebook, local channels and newspapers."
Whether or not the motive for celebration is sheer goodwill or publicity, does the celebrations remind those unassuming children of their own deprivation?
Many users suggested to make the birthday celebration a subtle event without cake-cutting and just distributing food and gifts and maybe sharing a hand with them in their activities, while also saying it does them no harm if they get a day they can feel the joys of the world outside of the orphanage.
Most of these users are those who have at least once celebrated their children's birthdays with orphans and maintained that it felt not only blissful to them but that the children too had no inhibitions in celebrating with them.
"Contrary to what we thought the children their were very happy to see us, celebrate, sing songs and celebrate it in great way," says one Gautam Pendharkar.