- "The Emperor's birthday is the traditional end of the fiscal year, for each count's district in relation to the Imperial government. In other words, it's tax day, except—the Vor are not taxed. That would imply too subordinate a relationship to the Imperium. Instead, we give the Emperor a present."
- ―Piotr Vorkosigan explaining tax day[src]
On Barrayar, the birthday of the ruling Emperor was a traditional holiday that marked the start of a new Barrayaran fiscal year, the day when taxes were due. When a new emperor ascended to the camp stool, the fiscal year shifted accordingly. By the time of Gregor Vorbarra, taxes were mainly paid via electronic transfer, though each Count still gave the Emperor a bag with a few coins as a symbolic act.
- "I was sorry to miss your last birthday party. Up at Kyril Island they celebrated it by getting drunk, which made it virtually indistinguishable from any other day."
- ―Miles, regarding Kyril Island celebration of Gregor's birthday[src]
The occasion was also marked with feasts, fireworks, parades, dancing, and especially drinking. The main event was the Emperor's birthday dinner at the Imperial Residence.