It has been within the last 40 years or so that Moroccans acknowledge their birth dates. I feel I was told that birthdays were not important in the Islamic religion but I will have to check my sources on that. The subject of birthdays has been reoccurring around me lately. My host-nephew had his 8th birthday last week. My English students have been reviewed how to introduce themselves (which of course includes how old they are).
I noticed during my English class that those whom where over 40 years old couldn’t give me they day they were born, just the year. They said that they consider Jan. 1st as their birthday. I don’t know if there was a European influence or simply medical reasons about why people can now identify their birthdays if they are under 40. For those who have an actual date, there is a small celebration, usually in the evening, with cake and tea. Gifts are not given (at least, not between the two host families I’ve had) but the children do enjoy playing and popping the balloons.