Birthdays and the Coronavirus Quarantine

Meghana Veldhuis

Time has not stopped and birthdays have kept coming despite the obvious changes that have arrived at BCA with the Covid-19 pandemic. Due to required social-distancing, birthday celebrations aren’t as conventional as they have been in the past. However, people have still found ways to celebrate their special day and many creative celebrations have been the result.

Nearly 40 students out of a polled 135 from all grades have had birthdays during quarantine, and about 20 of them engaged in some form of a birthday celebration. Common forms of celebration included driving by friends’ houses, talking outside with friends while maintaining a safe distance, dressing up to take photos outside, seeing friends over Zoom or other video-chat platforms, and the ever-popular consumption of cake.

Zoom, a computer platform commonly used for virtual gatherings.

When students were asked to rank their social-distancing birthdays compared to previous ones on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being terribly different and 5 being nearly the same, most students ranked them as 3s.

Most students claimed that their celebrations weren’t actually that different from previous birthdays, with one student saying that “It was still nice that the people around me did their best to make it feel as awesome as possible.”

Another student happily adds that “I didn’t feel pressured to put on some big celebration or make the day super special, which was actually a little bit nice,” and many agreeing that they enjoyed the extra time they had with their families due to being at home.

The only thing that most students would have changed would be seeing their friends in person, along with the practical aspects of having less homework and being able to go out and achieve milestones such as gaining a driver’s license.

Over 100 students knew others who celebrated birthdays, with those often being cousins or siblings. For those who didn’t live in the same house and couldn’t physically celebrate together, methods of online communication such as texting, social media, or Zoom meetings were popular ways to spread cheer, along with driving to others’ houses and talking from a distance.

Celebrations for others followed the similar patterns of eating cake and talking. Most felt that they were positive ways of celebrating, with one student saying, “The only downside of the Zoom parties is that you can’t share the cake or pie and can only have one conversation. Other than that it’s pretty good.”

Teachers have also engaged in virtual celebrations, most of which were quite similar to the students’. Unlike the students, however, the teachers in general did not seem to think of a way that their virtual birthdays could be improved or details of celebrations; rather, one teacher gratefully states, “Thank goodness for technology.”

Though the virus outbreak has significantly changed interactions and relationships, people celebrating birthdays have found ways to make their days special despite the social distancing orders. Optimism seems prevalent amongst the BCA celebrators, with one student happily stating, “Despite the restrictions, I got to spend more time with my family and friends virtually, and had a lovely day.”

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