He’ll post on your Facebook page: “Hoppy bthdy Mate 4 ystaday!!! Hope it a good1!!!”
And he’ll do that four days after your birthday. Every year.
Missing a friend’s birthday is embarrassing, and so it should be. So it’s perhaps a bit ironic that the most famous birthday in the history of the world is missed every year.
I’m talking of course about the Little Baby Jesus. We’ll be celebrating his happy 2019th birthday* this month, but it’s pretty certain that he was not born on December 25th, and we are also out by several years.
For many centuries no one cared because Christmas was not the most important date in the church calendar. For the first few centuries, the Christian church didn’t really celebate it, and it was around 400AD when theologian Augustine of Hippo calculated Jesus’ birth date was December 25th.
This was extremely convenient, because this very date was Saturnalia, a big Roman
orgy party that celebrated the passing of the winter solstice. This handy calculation made is simple to convert Romans to the Christian church – they could contribute their earnings and didn’t have to give up their traditional orgy party.
These pagan origins, and remnant Saturnalian habits, lead some church leaders to ban Christmas celebrations altogether. Oliver Cromwell banned it, and dancing, and having a full head of hair, and generally made himself so unpopular that he was dug up after he died just so he could be beheaded. So was his horse. Quote this blog in a history assignment at your peril.
Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol in 1843, beginning the modern celebration of Christmas as the most important date in the church (and social) calendar. Queen Victoria’s German husband Prince Albert was a fan, and much of the Christmas imagery – trees, snow, sleighs etc etc etc – has been adopted from German traditions untroubled by Oliver F. Cromwell.
So that is why we celebrate Little Baby Jesus’ birthday on 25 December even though there is about a 1/365 chance that it’s correct. The one thing we do know with any certainty is that we have the year wrong entirely, and L. B. Jesus was actually born sometime around 5BC, which must have confused him no end as a kid.
But that’s just the Western European churches. Other Christian denominations celebrate Christmas on various dates in January – not because it’s more accurate, but due to different calendars.
So I guess the takeaway is that it’s the thought that counts and if you don’t celebrate a birthday on the actual birthday then there is pretty strong precedent for it.
Which brings us obviously and directly to the combined Malthouse and Epic birthday this Friday 13th. Our mighty Malthouse is celebrating its 26th birthday, and Epic is celebrating its 14th. The celebration will include cake, presents (for you, don’t mention it), a tap takeover with a wonderful range of Epic beers, two Hidden World gins on tap, and (drum roll please…) a full-size Christmas tree made from authentic, glow-in-the-dark Hop Zombie bottles for a confused but spooky Friday 13th/Birthday/Christmas ambiance.
Happy birthdays Malthouse, Epic, and Little Baby Jesus!
Here’s the Epic taplist:
Birthday Ultra Pale Ale – New Release!
IPA on a Stick – 2019 West Coat IPA Challenge winner
Blue low carb
Coffee & Fig 2018
Craze Hazy double IPA
And two gins on tap:
Pink Gin & Tonic
Gin & Juice
Friday 13 December – An Epic Xmas and Birthday Celebration. Join us for a joint Christmas & Birthday party with Epic taking over the taps! Birthday cake and heaps of merch to giveaway.
*Or 2020th or 2018th. I’m not sure if there was a Year Zero before his first birthday, so did he turn 1 at the beginning of 2AD? It’s too complicated for a Sunday morning.