M I D D L E   E A S T

Israel - In Israel, the birthday child wears a crown made from leaves or flowers and sits in a chair decorated with streamers which are lifted by the parents. The guests dance around the chair. Bar Mitzvah is celebrated after the 13th birthday for Jewish boys. Bat Mitzvah is celebrated after the 12th birthday for Jewish girls. The Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah marks the child's acceptance of the obligation of observing the commandments as a responsible member of the Jewish community. The sixteenth birthday is also special as they can get a job, a drivers license, or the girls can have their first grown-up party.

Muslim Communities - In Muslim cultures people thank Allah following the birth of a child by distributing gifts among the poor. When the child is about a week old, he is tonsured and his family donates an amount of silver, often equal too, or even more than the weight of the child's hair. Family and friends get together over a grand feast.

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