Why and How to Celebrate Your 21st Birthday

For as long as I can remember, one’s 21st birthday has always seemed to be an incredibly important birthday. In different places, 21 may symbolise a particular meaning, but it is generally celebrated grandly because it is deemed to be one’s “coming of age”. 21 is attached to adulthood; once you turn 21, you are perceived as an adult. It doesn’t matter if you live in a society that has a legal drinking age of 18, you are not viewed as an adult in society until you are 21. That is why a huge fuss is made: people dress up, speeches are made, cars are gifted, money is given and champagne flows. It is said that the importance of 21st birthdays dates to medieval times; boys were dubbed as knights at 21 and became an important figure to the monarch. This was tied with the chivalric code, whereby men’s behaviour was governed by this code and thus, knighthood was important. Nowadays, 21 symbolises many things, namely: being able to drink (America), being independent, making it through primary school and university, being a good child, not having a child before 21, having academic achievements, etc.

Some parents gift their 21-year olds with a key that symbolises the entry into adulthood, one “unlocks the door to adulthood” and is officially an old person. I used to think that 21-year olds were adults and that at the age of 21, one should have their life together because that’s what adulthood is about, right? Wrong. I haven’t met anyone that has their life together, let alone someone that has newly entered their twenties. I find that this is a daunting age, you are most probably financially dependent on a parent or a guardian, you are still in university, you don’t have a job, your love life is a joke and you are still trying to figure yourself out. There may be many significant reasons as to why people put Twenty-One on a pedestal, but I am of the belief that every age is significant. If you once thought that you would never make it past 18 and you make it to 20, there is no need to hold yourself back and wait for 21 - celebrate your life right now.  You don’t have to be an A student or a virgin to be celebrated - you matter, and you are important. I don’t want to take anything away from 21, but I don’t want other birthdays to seem insignificant. Life is uncertain, and we truly don’t know which day will be our last. So, live your truth. If you want to go big for your 21st, that’s totally cool and you should do you. Here are 21 ideas for your 21st birthday or any other day whereby you feel happy to be alive:

1. Have a sunset champagne cruise with a few close friends.

2. Go bar hopping

3. Have a picnic at a botanical garden and have your friends bring all your favourite foods.

4. Have a themed dinner party, filled with all your favourite games and music playing in the background.

5. A classy high tea with finger sandwiches with the crusts cut off and all.

6. Have a movie marathon, get a projector and turn your lounge into your own personal cinema.

7. Relive the good old days and go to an amusement park and ride roller coasters and eat cotton candy.


9. Have a champagne breakfast.

10. Have a murder mystery party, give each guest a character and make sure they dress accordingly. Then spend the night trying to figure out who the murder is.

11. Go bungee jumping or scuba diving.

12. Have a karaoke night with your best mates.

13. Have a fancy dinner at a fancy restaurant and show up looking like you just hopped out of vogue.

14. Rent out an apartment on Airbnb or a holiday home for the weekend and chill with your friends next to the beach.

15. Go camping and star gaze.

16. Have a classic 21st soiree.

17. Do 21 good deeds.

18. Have a house party.

19. Treat yourself to a spa day.

20. Explore the city you live in, take a train and do all the things you said you would when you moved there.

21. Surround yourself with wholesome people that you have reciprocal relationships with, that consist of love, respect and kindness.