Jonas watched as a comely girl with long red hair blew out eighteen lit candles that were positioned on top of a pink frosted cake. Beside the table there were stacks of packages with designs and bows on them, and surrounding them were levitating spheres, held only to the ground by a string, called balloons.
The mass of people around him cheered with excitement and mobbed around her, everyone trying to hug her at once. After a few minutes, when everyone was finished hugging her, she began to open the boxes – called "presents", Jonas noted.
Tearing open the presents, she discarded the protective covering on it – which was called wrapping paper – and squealed with joy. Leaning over to hug the person who had given her the gift, she smiled, "Thanks, Adriane!"
Numerous gifts were opened, and each time the birthday girl thanked the person who had given her the gift. A boy named Harold gave her an expensive pocket watch; the hat she was now wearing had been given by Kenan; cute earrings that Kelly had given her were currently in use.
As the last gift's owner was pulled into an embrace, Jonas felt himself coming back to reality. Blinking open his eyes, he stared in wonder at the Giver.
"Why did those people give that girl those items?"
"Sit up, Jonas. We're done for the day," Jonas sat up as the Giver continued. "What you just experienced was a birthday party. The girl was receiving those presents since it was a tradition to do so."
"Even with all my memories, I don't understand why."
"What is a 'birthday'? The word kept coming up and I didn't understand what it was."
The Giver sighed, as he usually did before a long explanation. "A birthday is a day which people used to celebrate, which marked the yearly anniversary of a person's birth. On that day, that person would receive gifts and cards which told them to 'have a happy birthday'."
"That's ridiculous!" Jonas bluntly stated. "Who knows what day they were born?"
"People used to keep records of that type of information. They were not put into groups of Ones, Twos, or even Twelves."
"Why would they do that? There would be no order! How would people know when they are supposed to get their Assignment?"
"That," the Giver replied, looking up at the clock, "is a question for another day. Oh, we are out of time!"
Jonas left the Annex, deep in thought about birthdays. Perhaps, if he looked up Fiona's date of birth, he could do something special for her.