Monday, November 8, 2010

Birthdays and Their History

This blog entry is dedicated to those with birthdays this month.
A joyous Happy Birthday to some of those special people in my life who are celebrating their birthdays this month;
Mark, Karen, Heather, OO and, Elizabeth
And, I know better than to divulge ages!

The History:

History of Birthday observance can be traced back before the rise of Christianity. In pagan culture it was believed evil spirits visited people on their birthdays. To protect the person having birthday from the evil effect, people used to surround him and make merry. A lot of noise used to be created in such parties to scare away the evil spirits. In those times there was no tradition of bringing gifts and guests attending the birthday party would bring good wishes for the birthday person. However, if a guest did bring gifts it was considered to be a good sign for the person of honor. Later, flowers became quite popular as a Birthday gift.

The Cake:
Some of the popular Birthday traditions and symbols that we see today originated hundreds of years ago. Some believe the tradition of birthday cake was started by early Greeks who used to take round or moon shaped cake to temple of Artemis - the Goddess of Moon. Others believe the custom of Birthday cake initiated in Germany where people used to make bread in the shape of baby Jesus’ swaddling cloth.

The Candles:
The popular custom of lighting candles on the cake is said to have originated because Greeks used to light candles on the cake taken to Artemis to make it glow like a moon. Some though believe that custom originated because of a religious belief that gods lived in the sky and lighted candles helped to send a signal or prayers to the god. Germans are said to have placed a big candle in the centre of the cake to symbolize ‘the light of life’. Even today people make silent wishes as they blow out candles. It is believed that blowing out all candles in one breath brings good luck.


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