This past Saturday, I had the good fortune of celebrating my Golden Birthday. It was quite a to-do, with my parents and most of my siblings making the long drive down to visit. It was definitely a haul, but they all felt it was worth the travel. After all, my family is always looking for a reason to celebrate.
When you come from a large family, you don’t need to invite anyone over to have a party. There’s enough of you to make every day a spectacle, and we often did – My mother always found ways for us to celebrate, sometimes drawing ideas from a charming book she has called Every Day is a Holiday. Of course, sometimes we created a spectacle out of days other people might not think to celebrate. Second Christmas is usually some time in January, complete with an official Second Christmas tree, while my father usually leads the way in celebrating International Talk Like A Pirate Day… once going so far as talking like a pirate on a formal conference call.
Combined with my family’s love of celebrating is their love of cake. With a lot of birthdays scattered throughout the year – Nine, for immediate family alone! – you’d think they’d have their fill of cake from birthdays alone. That’s simply not so – Many other holidays require cake. A green one for St. Patrick’s day, perhaps one shaped like a black cat for Halloween. Naturally, with a love of cake and a love of festivities, my family is always looking for something new to celebrate.
And that’s why Runeday is a thing.
I enjoy the work of fleshing out characters from my stories. Quite a few are given birthdays, usually chosen by fitting their personality traits to an astrological sign. Not that I put much stock in astrology, but why not? It’s something fun to do. Sometimes, I even base their age off which year of the Chinese zodiac suits them best (And you can read about my own experience with the Chinese zodiac here).
One of the best-developed characters I have is Rune, the main character of what I’ve always figured will be my flagship series. Rune’s birthday is June 27th, and naturally, a birthday means cake.
The first time we made a cake for Rune’s birthday, it was in jest. We couldn’t find another reason to make a cake, and you have to have an excuse for cake, you know? You can’t just have cake for no reason. Cake requires a party. So sometimes, on the 27th, I’d even wake up to discover my younger brothers and sisters had done a small amount of decorating. Sometimes they even started baking the cake without me. It was all in good fun, but I assumed that when I married and moved from home, the tradition of a cake on Rune’s birthday would end.
I was wrong, as they have celebrated “Runeday” at least twice more since I left home.
Sure, it’s silly to celebrate a fictional character’s birthday. Especially one not widely known, as I’ve not yet finished writing his stories. But who cares? If it’s another reason to celebrate, we might as well.
Life’s too short to go without cake for long, after all.