25 August 2005

Parabéns, you are still alive

In Brazil the Happy Birthday song (sung to the same tune as ours) is

Parabéns pra você
Nessa data querida
Muitas felicidades
Muitas anos de vida
or in English

Congratulations to you
On this special day
Much happiness
Many years of life
I find it interesting that they congratulate on birthdays, whereas in the US, we just say happy birthday. So instead of wishing well, they acknowledge an accomplishment, namely, survival. My first thought was that this difference was due to culture differences arising from a lower general life expectancy. However, at 71yrs, Brasil does not rank far behind the US at 77yrs. Although when the song was written (shrouded in mystery but probably around the turn of the 20th century), life expectancy in the US was only 49yrs. So that theory can be safely trashed.

So it seems to me that we should use the American version on peoples birthdays, but every year that life expectancy rises we should have a national/world wide singing of the Brasillian version to congratulate the world on its accomplishment.

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