For a long time, it never occurred to anyone to celebrate a birthday.
There are various hypotheses about where the tradition of celebrating birthdays came from. According to one of them, it all started with the cult of Mithra, the ancient Iranian sun god, who was brought to Europe by the soldiers of the Roman Empire. Some of the traditions of Mithraism and pagan rituals (for example, Saturnalia) - cult meals, the customs of making gifts to each other - were the first prototypes of birthday celebrations.
According to another version, the birthday is even older. Wild tribes had beliefs that on the day of birth, a person became especially vulnerable to evil spirits, and his fellow tribesmen surrounded and protected him with their wishes, and then with offerings. The prototypes of birthdays may have been the days when the entire tribe, led by the leader and shamans, came to worship their idols.
They began to celebrate their birthday in ancient Egypt, later this custom spread to Assyria. But it concerned only outstanding people - pharaohs and kings, as well as their male heirs. The first written records of the celebration of the birthdays of the Egyptian pharaohs date back to about 3000 BC. A feast was held in the palace, in which, in addition to the nobility, both servants and slaves took part. Often, on the occasion of the pharaoh's birthday, prisoners were released from prisons.
For a long time, the birthdays of women were not only not celebrated, but not even recorded. As far as we know, the first woman to receive the annual holiday was Cleopatra II, Queen of Egypt (185-116 BC).
The ancient Greeks celebrated the birthdays of their gods 12 times a year (for example, the birthday of Artemis, the goddess of the moon and the hunt, was celebrated on the sixth of every month). As for ordinary mortals, only the head of the family - husband and father - enjoyed such a privilege, and then only once a year. They did not pay much attention to women and children. But neither then, nor later, in the Middle Ages, the birthdays of people were almost never celebrated. For the most part, mankind did not use calendars. And the life of each individual did not mean anything.
With the spread of Christianity, the tradition of celebrating someone's birthdays disappeared. Early Christians viewed the world as a place of sorrow and believed that a joyful event was not a birth, but the departure of a person, his deliverance from a sinful world. In addition, traditions inherited from pagans - Egyptians, Greeks and Romans - were discouraged by the church.