Why were birthdays eliminated in The Giver?

In The Giver, individual birthday celebrations have been eliminated because the community values Sameness. The community's Elders manipulate every aspect of a citizen's existence, including recognizing all children's birthdays as a group at one ceremony each year.

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Jonas's society has been carefully structured to guarantee Sameness. Although citizens don't recognize this effort for what it truly is, which is an indoctrination that removes all personal choices, the people accept that everyone must be the "same" in order to be equal. This means that they all wear the same clothes, behave in the same prescribed ways, and even relinquish feelings of lovebecause love produces preferential feelings for some members of the community.

In their desire to create a Utopian society, the community leaders have established yearly celebrations for each group born within one calendar year. Instead of celebrating individually, the entire group celebrates together. And instead of personalized gifts, each group receives the same "gift" at the same time on behalf of the community: front-buttoned jackets at age seven, bikes at age nine, and new clothes at age eleven (though all still identical).

Birthdays have been eliminated as an individual celebration because this society does not value the individual. Instead, the collective whole is more important than any single person. A personal birthday celebration would also intentionally recognize one person above her peers, and children are taught that any personal recognition is likely to lead to bragging, which is highly frowned upon in this society. By manipulating citizens into believing so strongly in the importance of the group and the insignificance of the individual, the leaders of the community are able to continue participation in a peaceful society without individual citizens recognizing all they have sacrificed to ensure this sense of security.

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