"I'm sixty years of age. That's 16 Celsius."
-- George Carlin
When children are born in the US, they are zero years old. But in China and Vietnam, and other countries in Asia, when children are born they are considered one year old. Birthdays were not really celebrated in the early 1990s when I was in China but some families did buy birthday cakes to mark the day. However, the cakes I was invited to share had way too much frosting and didn’t taste very good at all, probably because it was not a traditional Chinese custom.
|Chinese birthday cake; source: CakesDecor|
I once asked a former student of mine, an ELL whose parents immigrated from Vietnam, how old she was. She said it was complicated! After hearing her explanation, I think what she meant was that according to Vietnamese culture she was one age and according to Western culture she was a different age. But I still couldn’t figure out if she was in the “right” grade for her American age or not.
|Vietnamese birthday; source: Vietnamese Language Studies|
My Dominican and Puerto Rican girl students occasionally talked about celebrating their quinceañera and what it meant to them but since they were only 12 or 13 when they discussed it in class with me, their big day was still a few years off. I don't know if celebrating their 15th birthday had an impact on the school system but I can well imagine the girls were not about to do any homework that day!
|Quinceañera magazine; source: PrincessLasVega|