Serena Williams and husband Alexis Ohanian had cancelled all plans for daughter Olympia’s first birthday

Serena's commitment to her faith was well-known at the time

Serena Williams and husband Alexis Ohanian had cancelled all plans for daughter Olympia’s first birthday

Serena Williams with her family (Credit: Today's Show)

Three years ago, on September 1, 2020, tennis legend Serena Williams and her husband, tech magnate Alexis Ohanian, celebrated their daughter Alexis Olympia’s first birthday. However, contrary to the customary celebrations that accompany such milestones, the family chose not to commemorate the occasion due to their religious convictions as Jehovah’s Witnesses.


Serena Williams bluntly stated, “Olympia doesn’t celebrate birthdays,” during a press conference for the US Open, where she was showcasing her supremacy on the tennis court. “We don’t do it because we are Jehovah’s Witnesses,” she explained.

Serena’s commitment to her faith was well-known at the time, and she had previously expressed her dedication to her religious beliefs. In an interview with Vogue for their February issue, she emphasized, “Being a Jehovah’s Witness is important to me, but I’ve never really practiced it and have been wanting to get into it.” She also spoke of her husband’s support, saying, “Alexis didn’t grow up going to any church, but he’s really receptive and even takes the lead. He puts my needs first.

Abstaining from birthday celebrations is simply one component of Jehovah’s Witnesses’ religious practice. They also prefer not to celebrate other well-recognized international holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, citing the precepts of their faith.


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Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses do not celebrate birthdays?

Jehovah’s Witnesses refrain from celebrating birthdays in accordance with their religious beliefs, which puts them apart from the rest of society. This stance is based on their reading of the Bible and their dedication to living according to the principles of their faith.


Birthdays, according to them, are not sanctioned by the Bible. They cite Bible passages where birthday celebrations were coupled with negative events, such as the narratives of Pharaoh’s and Herod’s birthdays, as proof that birthdays should not be celebrated.

They are wary of behaviors that could be seen as idolizing or unduly adoring individuals, such as celebrating a person’s birth. Jehovah’s Witnesses work hard to distinguish themselves from worldly conventions and traditions that contradict their religious views. Refusing to celebrate birthdays is seen as a way of distinguishing themselves from the rest of society.


It should be noted that the degree to which individual Jehovah’s Witnesses adhere to these principles varies. Some members may take a more relaxed approach to, but others may adhere to a tighter interpretation of their faith’s precepts.

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