History of the Birthday Cake and Candles
Do you know why we cut a cake and blow out candles on birthdays? Ever wonder when this birthday tradition started? Putting candles on birthday cake is a tradition that’s been around for a long time and much of it has to do with worshiping gods. Birthday cakes have been a tradition since the Ancient Greeks were around who burned candles as offerings to their gods. They baked big round honey cakes to symbolize the moon and topped them off with candles as a way to pay tribute to the goddess of the hunt and also of the moon, Artemis. The candles were lit to represent the reflected moonlight and glow like the moon, a famous symbol associated with Artemis. Many ancient cultures believed that smoke from the candles carried their wishes and prayers to the Gods. Also many assumed that the smoke from the candles helped to ward off evil spirits.
Modern Traditions of Birthday Celebrations
Many believe that today’s tradition of making wishes before blowing out your birthday candles started with the Germans. The Germans celebrated with birthday candles during Kinderfest, a birthday celebration for children in the 1700s. A single birthday candle was placed on the cake to symbolize the “light of life.”
Today it is customary to blow out your candles on your birthday. Many people use their age to determine the number of candles to put on the cake. However, as people get older, it is acceptable to just use one candle. The act of blowing out the candles is often associated with making a wish. One common belief is that the birthday boy or girl before blowing out the candles must make a silent wish. If all the candles are blown out in just one breath, then this wish will come true, and he or she will have good luck throughout the year. Regardless of age, the blowing out of candles is one of the anticipated moments in a birthday celebration.