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  #1  
Old 05 January 2007, 05:30 AM
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snopes snopes is offline
 
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Read This! Refugees in U.S. use Jan. 1 as birthday

When refugees leave or enter countries, aid workers or government officials require birth dates on forms. Without definitive proof, officials often enter an easy placeholder: Jan. 1.

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercu...s/16362417.htm
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  #2  
Old 05 January 2007, 05:48 AM
landmammal landmammal is offline
 
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Hmmm... isn't that what they do with racehorses, too?
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  #3  
Old 05 January 2007, 08:44 AM
Victoria J
 
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I would believe that.

I have seen a lot of people with the birth date of either 1st of January or 31st of December when working with people who are refugees or otherwise have come to the UK from countries which don't keep good records of these things. I started to see so many people with the same dates that I asked - and was told (by both other workers, and in some cases by the individuals themselves) that they had choosen the dates because they only actually knew the year of birth.

Most people do know their age, or can have a fairly good guess at it - but may have gone their whole lives without having to be more specific.

Where I am currently working we have a large Somali community, and they come from a country which has no formal government, so it is not hard to imagine how poor documentation from there is.

I also have a colleague from Somalia. He does know his birthday, but he doesn't celebrate it. He is Islamic and celebrates only the appropriate religious holidays* (I think it is a bit like Jehovahs Witnesses who I understand find it quite disrespectful to celebrate non-religious days). Just because birthdays and birthdates are important to us doesn't mean that they are important to everyone.

*I know other Islamic people who do celebrate their birthdays, and have adopted UK customs for celebrating for their own and children's birthdays. So it certainly isn't a belief that everyone who follows the religion has - but it is part of his belief.

Victoria J
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Old 05 January 2007, 09:15 AM
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Don Enrico Don Enrico is offline
 
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Since we've got a lot of Turkish people living here in Germany, I know that it is illegal in Turky not to announce a babys birth to the authorities within the same year. Since a lot of people, especially in the rural areas in the East, don't make it to the next bigger town with a registration office every year, they would be late in announcing the birth of their child. To avoid the fine, the pick the date that is closest to the actual birthday, but still within the same year - 1st January.

This might be similar in other countries.

Don Enrico
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  #5  
Old 05 January 2007, 10:45 AM
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Lainie Lainie is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victoria J View Post
(I think it is a bit like Jehovahs Witnesses who I understand find it quite disrespectful to celebrate non-religious days).
Hijack to clear up a misunderstanding: JW's don't celebrate any holidays, religious or otherwise, except for their commemoration of Jesus' last supper. They believe that celebrating such holidays is a vestige of paganism and not appropriate for "true Xtians."
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Old 05 January 2007, 10:52 AM
Victoria J
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
Hijack to clear up a misunderstanding: JW's don't celebrate any holidays, religious or otherwise, except for their commemoration of Jesus' last supper. They believe that celebrating such holidays is a vestige of paganism and not appropriate for "true Xtians."
Thanks for clearing that up. And sorry for the mistake.

It isn't a religion I have much knowledge about. I went to school with one girl who was a Jehovah's witness but she was not allowed to attend Religious Education with the rest of us, and having no knowledge of other religions never joined in any talk on the subject. (And my only other exposure to the religion is the doorbell ringers, my mother lives near a JW church and they send people round. I always thought they had some sort of cloning technology because it was always different people but it always included some unimaginable little, bent over and old Black lady it would be quite impossible to be rude to, and a child on their best behaviour)

Victoria J
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  #7  
Old 05 January 2007, 10:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Victoria J View Post
Thanks for clearing that up. And sorry for the mistake.

It isn't a religion I have much knowledge about. I went to school with one girl who was a Jehovah's witness but she was not allowed to attend Religious Education with the rest of us, and having no knowledge of other religions never joined in any talk on the subject. (And my only other exposure to the religion is the doorbell ringers, my mother lives near a JW church and they send people round. I always thought they had some sort of cloning technology because it was always different people but it always included some unimaginable little, bent over and old Black lady it would be quite impossible to be rude to, and a child on their best behaviour)

Victoria J
No apologies necessary. My mother is a JW, and I was raised one, although I never believed and left at the first opportunity. It's a widely misunderstood religion.
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