There is a tradition here at AIMS, as I'm told. I've witnessed it twice so far. Birthdays are not just politely acknowledged by friends. They are celebrated by the whole community. Here's how it goes.
First of all, there is a Google calendar that has birthdays on it.
During dinner in the dining hall, someone will clang their glass to get everyone's attention. Then they inform us that it's someone's birthday today, and that we should stick around after dinner for cake and celebration.
He said "cake", so I stuck around.
After dinner, out comes the goodies. But they're not distributed yet. The birthday person (today it was Stanley) sits in a chair and everyone gathers around. There is a "sharing" time when a few people tell stories, or express their gratitude to the guest of honour. Sometimes it's a bit of a roast, but all in good fun. Lots of laughing.
Then we sing Happy Birthday in about 3 different languages.
The birthday person often says a few words, and then they hand out the cake and icecream. Since the kitchen is closed at this point, we have to make do with cake on napkins, and icecream in plastic cups... no spoons.
The students and postdocs have an awesome time celebrating together... it's great to see.
The big question for me... my birthday is coming up in 8 days (May 14). But it's not in the Google calendar. What's going to happen?