Serena Williams turned 41 this September, but the American household will not play host to huge celebrations. Raised as a Jehovah's Witness, both the 23-time Grand Slam champion as well as her sister Venus Williams adhere strictly to the religion's belief and obstain from such ostentatious activities.
For those unaware, Jehovah's Witnesses are a sub-sect of Christianity and has a membership of almost nine million people.
In addition to rejecting the popular Christian doctrine of the Holy Trinity (one God existing in three equal forms), the denomination also prohibits observing holidays like Easter, Christmas, birthdays or any festival with pagan origins.
In an interview with Vogue magazine back in 2015, the former World No. 1 revealed that she wasn't really a big practitioner of the religion but that she wanted to "get back into it."
"Being a Jehovah’s Witness is important to me, but I’ve never really practiced it and have been wanting to get into it," Williams said.
In 2018, when her daughter Olympia turned one, Williams disclosed that she would not be hosting a birthday party. Instead, the 40-year-old ended up throwing a less-formal "party", featuring face-painting and other activities Olympia could enjoy.
“Olympia doesn’t celebrate birthdays,” Williams said. “We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, so we don’t do that.”
Serena Williams' faith was a big part of the King Richard movie
Serena Williams' faith was an integral part of 'King Richard,' the critically-acclaimed biopic about her father Richard Williams. According to the movie's director Reinaldo Marcus Green, the Williams family regarded religion as a very important part of their lifestyle.
Green pointed out how Venus Williams and her sister had a habit of thanking the Jehovah God after a win, adding that it would have been an unfaithful representation to leave those parts of them out of the film.
"Well, we know that the family, Venus and Serena Williams and Oracene, they’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, and so we wanted to honor that. It’s who they are. Whenever they win a match they thank Jehovah God. So, why shy away from those things? it’s part of their faith," Green said. "Now, Richard is not Jehovah but he respected the family’s decision to take them to Hall. Those are the things that we learned and we wanted to embrace in the film, for sure. It was important."
Venus Williams and Father Richard recall one match that 7-time Grand Slam champion "should have won"