Celebrating special occasions in absentia

Eating out with a friend in a shabu-shabu restaurant to celebrate my late father's birthday.
It would have been my father's 83rd birthday last Friday had he been still with us. To celebrate, I have decided to whip up our very traditional (in our family at least) birthday fare of Filipino-style spaghetti and orange butter cake (which my father was so fond of baking in his later years) for lunch and invited a friend to eat out in a nearby shabu-shabu hotpot restaurant for dinner. The Sunday after that was coincidentally also Mother's Day so I had another excuse to prepare and eat something nice. This tradition of celebrating special occasions of loved ones even if they are not physically present has always puzzled some of my friends. Well, you need to understand something about our family's situation to have an insight into why we have adopted this tradition. We have always been scattered all over for the better part of the last 2 decades or so. In fact, just 5 years ago, our family of 5 were living in 4 different countries. We are very close knit so this meant that special occasions such as birthdays are celebrated together as a family despite being not being located in one spot. So it is not at all unusual to tell my mom that I have baked her a birthday cake and that I have already eaten it, and by the way, it was delicious! Of course, social media and messaging apps play a very important role in all of these. In fact, my mom used to be so technology averse but that all changed when she wanted to a constant presence in the lives of her grandkids albeit a virtual one (her medium of choice are now Facebook and Instagram for keeping up with our lives and Skype for video calling).  

Attempting to bake some muffins during Mother's Day

I used to celebrate my nephew and niece's birthdays (their birthdays are only 2 days apart) with friends and the funny thing is that they have a mental image of them as being kids but actually they are all grown up now.

We do get together on rare occasions and I think that during my brother's wedding, my mom was lamenting the fact that we only see each other in person during weddings and funerals. Sadly, the next time we gathered like that was 4 years ago during my father's funeral.

I am not sure if other people also celebrate important family occasions this way but I have a feeling this practice will be passed on to the succeeding generations in my family.