Reporter's Notebook: It's your birthday, it's your birthday


When moving to a new country, there are always a bunch of funny little differences you have to get used to. For Somalis, one of those things is our American tendency to focus on our birthdays.

In Somalia, people don't keep track of their exact birthdate -- just the season and the year. So many Somalis have recorded January 1st as their birthday. One source for the current feature, The Somali Murders, cracked up about the funny situations this cultural difference has created.

"At Roosevelt, they started this new system at lunch, where they give you a number, and you punch in that number to get your lunch," says a 22-year-old Somali man who attended Roosevelt High School. "And then, whenever it’s your birthday, the machine tells you happy birthday.

"So January 1st, everybody just going through, like, the whole week. It was saying that the whole week. Happy birthday, happy birthday!"

"One time, like two years ago [on Jan. 1], a couple of cops just drove through Cedar with their [megaphones] the whole night, singing happy birthday – the whole night. It was hilarious. They were making fun of us, but it was hilarious."