SPECIALreport on Christmas
By Kate Halim
To Christians, Christmas Day symbolizes the day Christ was born. The celebration is marked by fun activities as well as the coming together of family and friends.
While some people are celebrating Christmas, others are celebrating their birthdays. They are called Christmas babies because they share the same birthday, as it were, with Christ.
Saturday Sun spoke to men and women who were born on Christmas Day and they revealed how it feels being born on that day and celebrating their birthdays on the day the birth of Christ is celebrated worldwide.
EMMANUELLA JONAS, beautician: I feel pure, holy like Baby Jesus
Sharing the same birthday with Christ makes me feel very special. I feel unique to be born during the season of happiness, colours and good food. It makes me feel pure and holy too like baby Jesus Christ.
What makes my birthday remarkable is the weather, food, the happiness in the air. My dad told me that I actually interrupted Christmas stew on the day I was born and I always get more food on my birthday.
Growing up, my dad will say, you don’t need cake again because all the food and chicken in the kitchen are yours. We killed it for you and I get a very big chunk of meat from my mum every Christmas. It makes me feel like I don’t have a special day to myself like everyone else.
My feelings notwithstanding, I look forward to celebrating my birthday on Christmas Day. I get in the mood right from December 1st.
CHRISTINA UMORU, advert executive: It’s like I don’t have a birthday. I was born on December 25th, 1990. I don’t like it that I was born on Christmas Day. It just feels like you don’t have a birthday.
As a child, it was really hard for me to be happy and celebrate my birthday because I had to wait all year for presents and I never got birthday cakes or drinks because it’s Christmas day. In addition, my parents never said happy birthday first; they always said Merry Christmas.
I have never had birthday parties. I have had birthday drinks maybe once in my life, but it didn’t feel like my birthday, so I just don’t bother. Once Christmas is approaching, I get sad because it takes the shine off my birthday, which is supposed to be my special day.
PROF SAMUEL EKWUJOLAM IHEANYICHUKWU ABANOBI, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology: I am humbled
It is true that my birthday is on the same day that is widely celebrated in remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ, being the incarnation of God in demonstration of His love for me and mankind, I am humbled. My attitude is pure joy, praising God, my creator, deliverer, sustainer and saviour.
I was born on December 25th, 1941. Repeated narratives from my mother and others indicated that my birth was very surprising and unexpected. The surprise was linked to the unusual nature of the gestation period, which went far beyond the normal length.
Coupled with this was that my mother’s belly ballooned out so enormously that no one, including the then attending expatriate physicians, considered it a pregnancy, but some sort of pathology requiring a surgical intervention. And so, surgery was scheduled, not to deliver any baby, but to release an extreme pressure exerted by an enormous fluid build-up.
But God intervened just the night before the day scheduled for “the operation.” Miraculously and surprisingly, a baby boy was born. The development stirred hospital personnel and the news spread quickly to my father, then a ruler, and all households under his authority. In unison, they all rejoiced, and thanked God. My father’s longing for a male issue was fulfilled.
I cannot tell whether the name- Ekwujolam –that he gave me had anything to do with what he might have experienced after he had had, in succession, six female issues from two wives, although he had two earlier non-surviving male issues from his first wife, my mother, who proceeded successively then after to bear four females before l was born.
Desperately, my father married a second wife whose first two pregnancies before my birth resulted in female births. It’s obvious why the joy of my father, mother and my community could not be contained. My second middle name, Iheanyichukwu, was from my mother who gave all the glory to God that with Him indeed, nothing is impossible.
CHRISTIANA PETER, Law student and scriptwriter: There’s a uniqueness with being born on Christmas Day
It’s a great feeling to be born on Christmas Day. There’s this aura of uniqueness that comes with it.
Most people are usually carried away with the beautiful memories they want to create, the fun they want to have, the places they want to visit, and all. Money made during the year has been saved, spent or budgeted.
Everyone has one engagement or the other and by the end of the day, I’ll have to be thankful for the very few that remembered it was my birthday on Christmas day. Over the years, I’ve been mostly sad on Christmas days and I really can’t say exactly why. Although, my mood has been much better in recent years. I get asked, “when is your birthday,” between January and November but not in December at all. Some people don’t even believe me when I say I share my birthday with Christ as it were. Others have said that my name being Christiana is why they would believe. These people believe that being born on Christmas Day is the only possible reason my parents named me Christiana.
My mum tells me to always be happy because millions of people celebrate that day. I actually don’t see it like that. I could start anticipating my birthday from December 1st and by 20th, I’d be wishing it just pauses there. Some things are changing and this time, I’m really looking forward to celebrating my birthday on Christmas Day. I’m really glad talking about being born on Christmas Day and I’m sure everyone born on Christmas Day has a special feeling they’d want to talk about.
OKERE CHIGOZIE DORIS, civil servant: I feel fulfilled celebrating my birthday on Christmas Day
I was born on December 25, 1980. I feel so honoured to share a birthday with my Saviour Jesus Christ. Whenever Christmas is approaching, I feel so excited. Having a double celebration on that day is like me being a super woman and also being the apple of God’s eyes.
What makes the day a remarkable one for me is the fact that I was born in my father’s car and I also brought wealth to the family. My parents told me that I was given both money and material gifts.
It doesn’t matter if the Christmas celebration takes centre stage on my birthday, I feel so fulfilled celebrating Christmas and my birthday on the same day.
CHIBUZOR IHEGBORO, media practitioner: I feel so special
I was born on December 25th, 1979. I feel so special sharing my birthday with Christ. Growing up, whenever I demanded something better than what my siblings got on their birthdays, my late mum would ask if I feel entitled to receive the best gifts because I was born on Christmas Day.
My late mum told me that a day before I was born, she had gone dancing because she attended a jamboree in Lagos. She was having fun and playing with her neighbour’s children and later everybody went to bed.
The next day, which was Christmas Day, the neighbours were surprised to hear from my late dad that my mum gave birth to me that morning at 7am at St. Nicolas Hospital. For years, my picture was put up at the hospital to celebrate Christmas babies.
I don’t feel my birthday is relegated to the background because it’s Christmas. The ripple effect is that even if you throw a party that day, nobody will come because everybody is busy celebrating Christmas with their families. I don’t mind because I get to save money. It is a blessing that I share the same birthday with Christ. I thank God for such a special day.
ABIODUN OLAYINKA AJAYI, CEO, Optimum Care Limited, London, UK: Quite remarkable sharing one’s birthday with Christ
I was born on December 25. I feel special to share my birthday with Christ. I was born in the early hours of December 25 at the famous Ile Abiye Hospital, Ado Ekiti. It was remarkable for me because, I was used by the nurses at the hospital to act a play on the birth of Jesus Christ. This makes me feel like a super hero. But since then I only receive one gift instead of double. Most of my birthday celebrations are with my immediate family. Friends and colleagues will be busy in their respective houses to celebrate the birth of Christ. However, they always come around and celebrate with me at a later date but not on Christmas day.
EMMANUEL ABIODUN FALEYE, United Nations official; I’m being celebrated every Christmas
I was born on December 25. It will be quite a privilege to share my birthday with Christ if Christ was truly born on that day. This is because there are indications that he was not born around Christmas. On the other hand, this is a day that everyone celebrates all around the world, so without cutting a cake, I feel that I am being celebrated, somehow.
From what I heard, I was not even born in the hospital, I was born in a herbalist’s home, I grew up to know “Aba ‘Yegbusi” as he was popularly called, and I used to pass through the front of his house on a daily basis in those days to fetch water. Apart from that, there’s nothing special about me.
I actually don’t feel my birthday is relegated to the background; I feel it is the other way, like I am being celebrated on every Christmas day.
JATTO ELIJAH, student/footballer; Only few folks wish me happy birthday on Christmas
I was born on December 25, 1997. I am a student of the University of Lagos. I am a footballer and a UI UX designer.
I can’t really complain about sharing my birthday with Christ. I wasn’t the one that gave birth to myself, so my being born on the day Christ is celebrated is an honour at the end of the day.
Even though Christ’s birthday outshines mine, I don’t really mind because it is not really an issue for me. It feels good. Before I was born, my parents had tried conceiving three times but it was not possible. I’m also the first born so I think it is the same with Christ because I think there’s this responsibility that was given to Christ to save the world and that is what is happening to me in my family. I am expected to be perfect all the time. The responsibility on me is way more than I can handle. People talk about Christmas on my birthday but I have a few friends that wish me a happy birthday on that day and they also pray for me. But my birthday is not relegated to the background. I have always been showed love on that day despite the fact that it is also Christmas. I always enjoy myself and my birthday is also always remembered.
ELO-BLISS ABAIMU, School Proprietress; Nothing special about it
I don’t see anything special about it although people tend to. But to me, it is just like giving birth to twins. People tend to adore them. The thing is that people don’t forget my birthday even when I sometimes forget theirs. I think because it is Christmas Day, they join in celebrating me; so we all celebrate together.
I was told that I was born in the early hours of the day. To my mother, it was a great joy because the first boy was born through a Caesarean section. So, naturally, they expected others coming behind him to be born the same way.
In fact, she said when she was in the labour room, it was like, among the nurses, they were taunting her. At the time she was telling me the story, she recalled the voices of the nurses. And, she would always tell me that it gave her great joy when, after all those taunting and threatening, I came with ease. I did not give her any stress at all.
She said my birth brought much gifts to her from people for giving birth to me on Christmas Day. They include her husband, parents and all her relations. They came to greet her, and to welcome the baby born on Christmas Day.
My father couldn’t go to church that day because he had to stay and take care of his wife and the new baby. It is not like now that churches are everywhere. Then the distance between the hospital and church was quite far. But now, my children would shout: “Hey, it is Christmas; it is mummy’s birthday.” Everybody wants to celebrate with me. So, we celebrate both Christmas and my birthday together.
EMMANUEL OGBONNAYA, Retired civil servant: I get to celebrate two occasions same day
I am happy that I was born on the same day with Christ. I feel great whenever my birthday is approaching. It means I get to celebrate two special days at the same time. My mother told me that I came into this world early morning on Christmas Day when people were getting ready to celebrate the birth of Christ and it makes me feel so special. Whenever Christmas is coming, I look forward to celebrating my birthday too because my mother, children and grandchildren make me feel so good. They come from far and near to celebrate me and to sing and dance with me.
I don’t feel my birthday is relegated to the background because it’s on Christmas Day. The way I see it, I get to celebrate both occasions at the same time and that double celebration means a lot to me.