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Celebrating Birthdays has been a part of many cultures for thousands of years, and is typically a day of celebration. Birthdays are exciting for most people it is their "special day". Children especially eagerly await their day to celebrate with cake and presents. Although many adults dislike their birthdays as it signifies they are getting older, many people see the day as a life milestone and use it as a day of reflection. Birthday celebrations are not just for humans any more, many pet lovers nowadays are throwing birthday parties for their dogs or cats.

There are unique traditions for celebrating birthdays throughout the world. In Thailand, a birthday is celebrated with the presentation of fish or birds, blessed water and being released. The piñata is well recognized part of the celebration in Mexico that is now common at many children's birthday parties in the United States. In many countries, like Poland and Hungary, people will celebrate their birthdays, but they will also celebrate Name Days. Name Days are celebrations on a particular day of the year that is associated with the persons given name, and are typically celebrated like birthdays.

Birthday Traditions

Birthday Cake


Having cake is an important part of many different types of celebrations, and the history of the birthday cake is deeply rooted in many ancient cultures. Historians have different views about the origins of the birthday cake. The tradition of having cake for the passing of a year can be traced back to ancient Greece, when cake was eaten in honor of Artemis the moon goddess. During the Middle Ages in Germany, sweet cakes were given out to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and then later in history, were given as a special treat for a child's birthday. In Canada, there is a birthday tradition of hiding a wrapped coin within the layers of a child's birthday cake, and the first person that finds the coin is the first person to get a turn at the party games.

Birthday Candles


The tradition of placing birthday candles on the cake can also be traced back to ancient Greece's worship on the moon goddess. Historians believe the Greeks placed candles on the cakes as a form of communication with the gods as they believed they lived in the skies, and to make the cake glow like the moon. Today the birthday candle is still surrounded by superstition, as people believe that making a wish and blowing out all the candles in one breath will make their wish come true. The blowing out the birthday candles tradition is an exciting part of the celebration for both young or old, the young believe their wish will come true and the old are just happy they can still blow out the ever increasing number of candles.

Happy Birthday Song


The "Happy Birthday Song" was written by two sisters, Patty and Mildred Hill, in 1893. The sisters worked in the Kentucky education system and the song was created as a classroom greeting that was originally called "Good Morning to All". The song developed into the birthday song and was copyrighted in 1935, and has grown to be the most popular song ever in the world.

Birthday Cards


Sending greeting cards can be traced back to ancient Chinese and Egyptian history, but the sending of cards for birthdays started in England during the 1800's. An immigrant from Germany, Louis Prang brought the greeting card tradition to America in the late 1800's [1]. According to the Greeting Card Association, the average person receives more than 20 cards per year, about one-third of which are birthday cards.[2]

Birthday Games


Playing games have become on of the most long lasting traditions of the Birthday Party in modern times. Many of the classic games histories can only be traced back to the 1960's, although, Pin the Tail on the Donkey can be traced back to 1887.

Special Birthdays

40thbirthdayballons.jpg Significant Ages Coming of Age Celebrations

Symbolic Birthday Gifts

Birthstones originate back to biblical times and can be traced back to the Breastplate of Aaron described in the Bible in the book of Exodus. The Modern Birthstone list that we use today was made official by the Jewelers of America in 1912.
Flowers have been a part of many types of celebrations throughout history, and giving flowers for birthdays can be traced back to the Roman Empire. The Romans gave flowers to honor Flora, the goddess of spring flowers, they also gave flowers to people on their birthdays. The Birth Flower that represents each month was the type of flower that was more prone to be in season during that particular month. Each birth flower not only represents the month, but each flower also has a special meaning based on it's color.
  • Zodiac Signs
Using the Monthly Zodiac Signs or the Chinese Zodiac Signs is a gifty and thoughtful way to give a birthday gift. Read up on the personality traits associated with the recipient's zodiac sign and find a way to incorporate that personality trait into the gift you give.

Related Guides


  1. History of the Greeting Card
  2. Facts About the Greeting Card