Solobrate is the celestial guardian of anyone celebrating their birthday under quarantine conditions. Her followers are sensible, ordinary folk who make small personal sacrifices for the protection of their loved ones and community. This may sound dour, but in fact the faith encourages it’s worshippers to enjoy their special day in any way they safely can. Solobratians have a saying, “Don’t go out. Go all out!” Naturally, this deity has no temples or shrines. Her faithful never gather together. The rite to praise her is always practiced alone (or with your bubble) and at home.
In order to carry out the Solobrate Birthday Ritual you will need a little forward planning. You are going to need to purchase some fizzy wine for the libation. Make sure you order this to be delivered well in advance as a frivolous last minute trip to the shops could get you proseccocuted. Be sure to select a good vintage, aged to perfection, like yourself. Many people decorate the sacred space for the rite with balloons, cards and flowers sent by long distance loved ones. (However, if you are lucky enough to be locked down with a significant other, you may want to suggest that instead of spending their breath blowing balloons, they blow you instead.)
On the day of your birthday, don the fluffy ceremonial robe and seat yourself comfortably in your favourite spot with the “Sceptre of Ultimate Power” (a.k.a. The Remote Control) grasped firmly in your hand. Alternatively, one can wear one’s Birthday Suit (this is probably the only year since the age of three that you are going to be able to get away with it). Some of the most devout followers will paint their faces for the ritual using a special deep cleansing paint made of Dead Sea Mud and kumquat extract*. Next it is time to order your favourite take-away and feast like a really peckish Roman. Make sure your food order is over £20 to ensure you receive the free poppadoms or prawn crackers. You can use these unsolicited sundries as an offering to the goddess. The feast should conclude with a luscious cake consumed entirely to oneself. This cake is sanctified by lighting the sacred flame of Solobrate atop it for a few moments whilst singing “Happy Birthday to Me”. (Traditionalists will bake and eat a cake shaped like a clock for their birthday. I am told this is a fun and time consuming activity.) Now open the wine you ordered earlier and toast yourself until you could melt cheese on your forehead. At this stage of the proceedings, many worshippers get a little emotional. Missing absent friends and loved ones. Remember, it’s okay to not to be okay. This is your ritual and you can cry if you want to. The ritual concludes when you pass out in a satiated soggy heap.
This year, don’t worry about whether getting older makes you wiser. If you have the sense to stay at home for your pandemic birthday, you are already very, very wise.
*Rinse off with clean, fresh water after 15 minutes. Then apply moisturiser .
Solobrate is dedicated to everyone who has and will have a lockdown birthday. Especially my wonderful Mum, proof reader and all round saint, Teresa. Happy Birthday, love to you all and stay safe. Xxx
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