Garnet: We don't really celebrate birthdays.
Steven: [gasp] Why not?!
Garnet: It's not our way.
Steven: Well, I can't just ignore this travesty of unjustice. I pledge that you will have your birthdays, with all the candy, cake, and ice cream you've been denied!
It happens. Some people go through life never having a birthday party. It could be because they grew up in a poor household and their family couldn't afford to throw one. It could be because they had a Friendless Background growing up, and nobody would come if a party was held for them. It could even be that they just hate the idea of having a birthday party. While they may go to other peoples' parties, or celebrate their own birthday with close family and friends, they've never had the experience of hearing a bunch of people yell "SURPRISE!" and celebrating the day they were born with a big party just for them. When this is found out, the person's friends/family will often try to right this wrong by giving them a birthday party for the first time.
In some extreme cases, the reason the person never had a birthday party... is because they never had a birthday! In other words, the character had no idea what day they were born, either due to a lack of proper birth records, or due to their culture not celebrating birthdays. Or perhaps they were simply never technically born. When this happens, other characters try to rectify the situation by finding out the person's birthday (or giving them an arbitrary day to celebrate it), and follow this up with giving them their first birthday party.
- Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
- Downplayed with Shirogane. His family used to celebrate when he was younger, but they stopped when he was a preteen due to his father losing his job and they needed to start saving money.
- Kaguya makes an offhanded comment in a flashback to one of Fujiwara's birthday parties that she's never had one herself. While there is a family gathering every year, that has more to do with the fact that she was born on New Year's Day than them actually having a celebration for her.
- In Kemono Jihen, Kabane Kusaka is, in his own words, "Thirteen, probably." Given how his aunt crushed his self-esteem into paste, never sent him to school, used him for unpaid manual labor, and planned to have him murdered, it's highly likely that he never celebrated his own birthday before.
- Kotaro Lives Alone: In episode 4 Kotaro admits his birthday is coming up, but his neighbors are shocked to learn the boy had no idea birthdays are a reason for celebration. When his neighbors decide to give him a proper birthday party, Kotaro of course takes this very seriously, and even starts practicing his lung capacity for the moment he has to blow out the candles on his birthday cake.
- Said word for word at the end of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence as David, being an android, had never even been born.
- In Rolie Polie Olie: The Great Defender of Fun, Gloomius Maximus has this as the reason for wanting to ruin Zowie's birthday party.
- The titular character of Harry Potter was raised by his abusive aunt and uncle who never threw him a birthday party, but who spoil their own son with dozens of gifts and lavish events. Harry's first real birthday celebration was on his eleventh birthday when he found out he was a wizard and Hagrid took him to Diagon Alley. However, it is possible that his real parents, Lily and James, held a celebration for his first birthday a few months before they died.
- In Loskutik And The Cloud, the orphaned Loskutik doesn't even know when her birthday is. When Barbatsutsa employs her, she throws her a birthday party, complete with a huge cake, angrily saying that a person without a birthday hasn't been born and she won't be tricked into paying wages to a nonexistent servant girl.
- Will from Goodnight Mister Tom has never celebrated his birthday prior to living with Tom Oakley, most likely due to his mother's religious beliefs. His ninth birthday is the first time he's ever had a party and cannot thank Tom enough for everything he's done.
- Leonard from The Big Bang Theory never had a birthday party until Penny throws him a surprise party in "The Peanut Reaction". Unfortunately, he misses it due to Howard inflicting an allergic reaction to peanuts on himself in order to stall him.
"My parents focused on celebrating achievements, and being expelled from a birth canal was not considered one of them."
- Troy from Community had never celebrated a birthday before the series due to being one of Jehovah's Witnesses, so they throw him a birthday party in "Mixology Certification". Still, they make the party Witness-compliant by leaving "Happy birthday" out of the song and writing on the cake "Hello from a random dessert, the day and month of which coincide with your expulsion from a uterus."
- Maudie in The InBESTigators, due to her mother dying when she was young and her father attempting to juggle life as a single parent and his career as a doctor. When Ava discovers this, she immediately resolves to remedy this and throw her a Surprise Party.
- In the Malcolm in the Middle episode where Malcolm and Reese are brought home from the hospital after their Escalating War resulted them in getting into a Game of Chicken where neither of them veered at the last minute, Hal grounds Malcolm and tells him to cancel his plans for his birthday. As they are going to get into another fight, Lois asks them what they remember doing on their previous birthdays, only for them to sadly realize that they never have done anything for their birthdays because they did something that got them grounded, and Lois calls them out on their wanting to have the last laugh has resulted on them never having a birthday party. The episode ends with Hal and Lois bribing Dewey into forgiving them by giving him a new video game, and Malcolm's former birthday present, a rare and expensive comic book. Dewey wishes Malcolm a happy birthday while he and Reese do menial chores around the house.
- Seven from Married... with Children doesn't know when his birthday is, so Peg declares that day to be his birthday... not realizing that it's Al's birthday as well. The Bundys then throw a party for Seven in a public park. However, the park is rented to a rich family for their own son's party, and the Bundys are forced to be penned in away from them until they fight back and reclaim the park for Seven's party.
- In Space Cases, Radu has never had a birthday party, because his species are hatched from eggs whenever their overlords need new slaves. In "It's My Birthday Too, Yeah", he gets jealous when the other kids plan a birthday party for Bova, and thus claims that it's his birthday too in order to get in on the fun. Harlan derails things by exposing the truth about Radu's species, so the kids throw Radu a birthday later.
- Stevie Wonder's song "Happy Birthday"note argues that it's a shame that the whole world doesn't get together to celebrate someone's birthday— specifically, as it turns out in later verses, the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., whose birth was not a holiday at that point. It later was made a holiday in large part because of Stevie Wonder's advocacy for the issue. The chorus is catchy enough that it's become a birthday song in its own right.
- When Forgath encourages Minmax to get to know Kin better in Goblins, Kin mentions that Yuan-Ti like her don't celebrate birthdays in the same way humans do, because of differences in the way they breed. Minmax, feeling he needs to see something human about Kin in order to get over his inherent Fantastic Racism towards her, decides to throw an impromptu party for her as a bonding exercise.
- In El Goonish Shive Grace only found out her birthday and exact age a short while before turning eighteen, because she was a part-alien hybrid created in a corporate laboratory. Her new guardian / boyfriend's father suggests she have a get together that quickly gets upgraded to her first birthday party whilst he is out of town. A party which quickly becomes a Gender Bender karaoke-fest at her suggestion.
- Brandy & Mr. Whiskers: In the episode "Happy Birthdays", Mr. Whiskers admits to have never celebrated his birthday or known what it is after all the animals in the jungle refuse to attend Brandy's birthday party because of her attitude. Brandy attempts to take advantage of this by claiming her birthday party is for Mr. Whiskers, which does get the animals on board... Until it becomes evident to them that Brandy is making the party more about herself than Mr. Whiskers causing them to bail. In the end though, both Brandy and Whiskers get their birthday party after the jungle animals come to an agreement that they all love to party.
- Futurama: In "Bender Should Not Be Allowed on Television", Cubert points out he's never had a birthday party, as he is a clone that was grown in a tube until recently. Professor Farnsworth points out he doesn't technically have a birthday, on account of not having a birth. Instead, he offers to celebrate the anniversary of either Cubert coming out of the tank or the DNA he was made from being scraped from a growth. Cubert chooses the latter.
- In Milo Murphy's Law episode "Party of Peril", it was revealed that Milo never had a large-scale birthday party due to Murphy's law getting in the way, and only celebrated it with his family and Melissa. Zack convinced Melissa and Milo's parents to hold a Surprise Party at a go-kart track anyway, however, as they invited a good amount of students at their school, and managed to convince Amanda to help organizing.
- In Teen Titans Go!, Starfire mentions that she's never had a birthday, because her home planet of Tameran has such a significantly larger cycle around its sun that Earth's Gregorian Calendar system can't apply to her. She mentions that Earth would have to cycle around a few dozen more years to celebrate her actual birthday. Beast Boy decides to just let her share his own birthday so they can celebrate together.
- In The Transformers episode "Surprise Party", Daniel and Wheelie want to throw a surprise party for Ultra Magnus, except no one knows the day he was created. After trying and failing to find that information, Spike declares that day to be Magnus' birthday.
- In the Steven Universe episode "So Many Birthdays", the titular Steven finds out that not only are the Gems Really 700 Years Old, but that they never celebrated any birthdays (there's a number of reasons why they wouldn'tnote ). Realizing that they had never had a birthday, Steven decides that it is up to him to treat them to all of the presents, cake and party games that they have never experienced.
- Harvey Street Kids: In the season 3 finale, the Harvey Girls find out Richie Rich never celebrated his birthday before, since he never felt the need to, and convince him to let them throw him one so he can experience all the joys that come with it. It backfires however when the emotions turn out to be too much for Richie, and he runs away from Harvey street, ending the season with a cliffhanger.
- Naomi from Elena of Avalor grew up at sea, so her birthday was never a big deal. When Elena learns this (and realizes Naomi's parents won't even be in the kingdom for Naomi's sixteenth birthday), she promises to throw Naomi a Royal Quinceanera (Plus One). Unfortunately, the attention starts to go to her head.
- Eugene from Tangled: The Series grew up as an orphan. Since he didn't know when his birthday was (and apparently didn't have anyone interested in celebrating with him regardless), he just never celebrated. Rapunzel, of course, decides to rectify this, choosing a random day. Though, her "party" is more subdued than the typical "make-up party." She just presents him with a cupcake.
- Some religious traditions such as Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in observing birthdays. If a person leaves one of these religions later in life, they may find it meaningful to start celebrating.