Not everyone knows that it is customary not to celebrate a 40th birthday. This belief comes from deep antiquity and is related to folk beliefs. The tradition has been preserved for a long time, even to this day, and even now there are people who think that if they celebrate this birthday of theirs, something bad will happen to them. Bad luck is for the whole family, not just the person turning 40.
The reason for such a belief comes from the meaning attached to the number 40 since ancient times. We know from the Bible that Moses led the Israelites through the desert for 40 years. The Noachian Flood also lasted that long as well.
Many superstitions related to birth and death again relate to this number. The newborn should not be shown to people for 40 days. And 40 days after death, the greatest commemoration is made for the deceased, because then their soul is presented before God.
On the 40th anniversary death is near and therefore it should not be attracted with celebrations. The light of the candles on the cake and the joy of the people has just such power. Even in Russia, they believe that whoever celebrates their 40th birthday, they will not have a chance to do the same at 50.
In East and Central Asia, the number 4 is also the subject of such beliefs. It is seen as fatal, similar to the number 13 in Western culture. Therefore, when a person from the Western world finds themselves in a hospital in the Asian world, they are surprised why the numbers 4 and 40 are often absent from the room numbering.
There is also a strong symbolic meaning in Tarot cards. There the death card corresponds to the number 40.
Modern science has its own explanation related to this number. At the age of 40, a number of changes occur on a conscious level. And when something changes, it is good not to announce it with a celebration, so that the path of the person goes smoothly.
The latest findings show that the development of the human brain ends at the age of 40, and not in childhood, as was believed until recently. The prefrontal cortex in the brain completes its formation precisely at 40 years of age. By this age, we can acquire knowledge that we will use for a lifetime.
In the past, human life was much shorter and 40 years was quite an advanced age. The body visibly ages, diseases appear, and the body increasingly finds it difficult to cope with everyday challenges. Celebrating that age seemed like getting used to that approaching old age.
There are other concepts. According to one of them, our personal guardian angel leaves us at the age of 40 and we are left to deal with life on our own. Even in ancient times, this period in life was considered a turning point and its celebration inappropriate.
Anyone who is haunted by doubts can safely skip this celebration. The next ones are coming.