Have you ever wondered where all our birthday traditions were started, and why we do what we do on birthdays? Well, we’re going to give you the lowdown where all these traditions came from and what flowers to buy for that special birthday gift.
Where did Cakes come from?
Why do we bring out those special birthday cakes on the day?
- Greeks used to present cakes at the temple of the goddess of the moon, Artemis. Those round cakes we love and know represented the full moon.
- But it wasn’t just the Greeks that introduced cakes for birthdays, Germans made a cake called Geburtstagorten, which was used for birthdays.
So now you know why cakes are part of our birthday celebrations!
How did Candles make their debut for birthdays?
- Greeks put candles on the round cakes they brought to Artemis. They did this because it signified the glowing moon.
- Germans were well-known for making candles, and they those small candles we use today to decorate their cakes and then blow them out.
- Some Germans however, used one large candle in the centre of the cake which meant the ‘light of life.’ How very appropriate to celebrate the coming of age.
- Smoke from fires would carry their wishes to heaven, which is why we now ask the birthday star to make a wish as they blow out their candles.
- You know the challenge of always trying to blow the candles out at once? Well this was done apparently to bring good luck. Today though many believe that this act will make that wish come true.
Why do we give birthday cards?
- This tradition started over 100 years ago in England and still lives on strongly today. Don’t forget that card!
Let luck come shining through
- This is where giving flowers as a gift came to be. But it wasn’t only flowers. Birthstones, flowers as we’ve said and colours were all given as a gift of good luck.
Why do we sing ‘Happy Birthday to you’?
- We all sing along to the age old song of ‘Happy Birthday to you’ but where in the world did this come from? Well this traditional song was written by two sisters, Mildred and Patty Hill, all the way back in 1893! Wow, that is a long time ago. Unbelievably it was originally written as ‘Good morning to you,’ and then took on the form as we know it today.
Some birthday customs from around the world
- Japan used to celebrate all Birthdays on 1st January. Imagine a whole country having a birthday on the same day? But nowadays, most Japanese people celebrate their birthday on the same day they were born.
- In Korea the most important birthday is that very special milestone of reaching the age of 1. The young one is dressed in special clothes and displayed to a large gathering of friends and family. The child is dressed in special clothes and displayed in front of a large crowd of friends and family members. A feast is made and then everyone leaves money for the birthday child. They believe that the child’s future is predicted by what they pick up.
- In China and with India’s maharajahs, reaching 60 years gains a huge amount of respect for that person, as they’ve made it to the first cycle of life.
- As we saw earlier, many of the common traditions that we still hold dear today come from Germany, such as cakes, parties and blowing out candles. Now we know who to thank.
- In Mexico they celebrate birthdays with piñatas filled with candies and treats shaped like animals or stars. This tradition goes back over 300 years!
- In many parts of the world people name their children after saints. They celebrate their birthday on that saint’s day. The birthday is a secondary celebration, where the main focus in on the saint on the day.
If your gift of choice is flowers then choose carefully, here are the flowers that represent each month.
- January – Carnation
- February – Violet
- March – Daffodil
- April – Daisy
- May -Calla Lily
- June –Rose
- July, Larkspur
- August – Gladiolus
- September – Aster
- October – Calendula
- November – Chrysanthemum
- December – Poinsettia
Send a bunch of blooms for an extra special birthday celebration!