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why do we celebrate your 21st birthday

Well why to celebrate birthdays at all? Why anniversaries? Its just a date in a calender? I think humans are very reflective and we like to make a point of taking a note in the passing of time. Nothing in life is guaranteed so its nice to pause to take stock of the time you have spent on the earth.

Hopes for the future and the goods and bad of the past. Its nice and doing these things with loved ones makes it all the nicer. 21 in our culture has been deemed as the date you become an adult.

So a perfect time for reflection and celebration.
I am only guessing but I think that it is related to the old apprentice schemes of the 18th & 19th century. Children were apprenticed to employers for a period of time for training and also a fixed period after training.

I think that the total period before an employee could become a "freeman" was 7 years. Therefore 14 years plus 7 years apprenticeship makes 21 years and hence the reason why historically the 21st birthday was always celebrated.

Until a man was a "freeman" he could not vote, own property etc. As I say I am only guessing, but I remember something along these lines from a history lesson many years ago.

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