In the words of Tevye, from Fiddler on the Roof.." Because of our traditions, we've kept our balance for many, many years. We have traditions for everything... You may ask, "How did this tradition get started?" I'll tell you!
I don't know. But it's a tradition... and because of our traditions... Every one of us knows who he is and what God expects him to do."
In my family, we have a tradition that comes alive with every birthday celebrated. We aren't one of those families who will sweetly sing The Happy Birthday song as it was intended. No. We deliberately sing it as off-key as possible, without rhythm or rules, but with as much gusto as we can manage. We sing notes that our voices wouldn't normally allow us to do. We sing in our falsettos with fervor. We intentionally allow our voices to break or flip, and at times, sound like wild animals gone rabid.
Just like Tevye said, we don't remember when this tradition began. We didn't always sing this way, but as the years went by, with all the many birthdays my siblings and I celebrated, perhaps it was a way to make it seem a bit less monotonous.
Since most of us celebrate our birthdays separated from families by distance, we always try to call each other on their "special day". However, we don't let that distract us from our tradition. We leave messages on phones, wishing our loved one a happy birthday. Then, without pause, we burst into The Birthday song with utter abandon, as a gorilla would a battle cry. You can't help but smile when you are the recipient of such delight.
At times, outsiders have witnessed this ritual. We don't warn them. Instead, we enjoy watching the expressions on their faces, as they try to figure out if we are just really bad singers completely ignorant of how tone-deaf we are, or if we actually intend to sound as horrific as we do.
Next time you have a birthday to celebrate, consider hiring us for your musical entertainment. We just might be the only ones out there, with this kind of talent.