Dutch Quirk #86: Call people Abraham and Sarah on their 50th birthday and wildly decorate their home

HomeUltimate List of Dutch QuirksDutch Quirk #86: Call people Abraham and Sarah on their 50th birthday...

Plenty of countries celebrate someone’s 50th birthday as a huge milestone — but the Dutch do it differently.

Yes, yet another weird tradition when it comes to celebrating the golden birthday in the Netherlands.

Namely, calling the celebrant “Abraham” for men or “Sarah” for women and filling their home and/or office with very questionable decoration. 🤨

What is it?

Indeed, Dutchies love to wish you a happy birthday, and bestowing the name Abraham or Sarah upon anyone who turns 50 is just one way of celebrating.

The wild home or office decorations might include funky inflatables and possibly embarrassing posters.

Picture plenty of 50th birthday memorabilia from streamers and hats to cake toppers and cards.

Then, the main event: big 50 lettering and the names Abraham and Sarah strewn everywhere.

But here’s the million-euro question: who on earth are Abraham and Sarah?! 🤔

Why do they do it?

Well, it turns out that these weirdly specific names are biblical references to two people, Abraham and Sarah, who lived until very old age.

Once you turn 50, you’re old enough to be “visited” by Abraham or Sarah, who pass on their wisdom from old age.

That is to say, you’ve become a wise person through years of experience.

READ MORE | Dutch Quirk #43: Hang a birthday calendar in the toilet

And because it’s so important to the Dutch, they go all out with the decorations.

“Becoming Abraham is an honour, 50 years pass like a spear!”

Turning 50 is really worth all the congratulations and decorative excitement, so they don’t shy away from the potentially embarrassing decor.

Overall, it’s a sweet sentiment — you lived long enough to gain all this wisdom and experience, and it’s a milestone to celebrate. 🥳

Why is it quirky? 

Well, it’s interesting that the Dutch use Bible stories as part of a tradition for a non-religious celebration even now.

Granted, the Netherlands was known for being a Calvinist country in the past, but religion is not as important for a majority of Dutch people as it used to be.

To the average person, it seems that the Dutch are just throwing around random names for people turning 50.

Should you join in? 

For sure! It’s always fun to celebrate a birthday, and Dutchies like to make 50th ones even more special.

Doesn’t this birthday feest (party) look so fun and wholesome?

Just know if you’re celebrating this special birthday here, prepare for lots of funny (or embarrassing) decor. 😉

What do you think of this Dutch quirk? Have you experienced it? Tell us in the comments below! 👇

Feature Image:Depositphotos
Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Katrien Nivera 🇵🇭
Third culture kid Katrien has been working as a writer and editor at DutchReview for over two years, originally moving to the Netherlands as a tween. Equipped with a Bachelor’s in communication and media and a Master’s in political communication, she’s here to stay for her passion for writing, whether it’s current Dutch affairs, the energy market, or universities. Just like the Dutch, Katrien lives by her agenda and enjoys the occasional frietje met mayo — she just wishes she could grow tall, too.


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