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Author Topic: Birthdays, it's a tradition!  (Read 2699 times)

paul.fr

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Birthdays, it's a tradition!
« on: 21/03/2007 07:23:44 »
With it being Charlotte's Birthday yesterday.



I just wondered, when did we (in the west) start celebrating birthdays?
How "traditional" is the giving of gifts, cards and having a birthday cake?
« Last Edit: 21/03/2007 07:26:01 by paul.fr »


 

another_someone

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Birthdays, it's a tradition!
« Reply #1 on: 21/03/2007 12:22:27 »
I believe that until, fairly recently, Catholic countries would more commonly celebrate name days (i.e. the date associated with the saint that bore your name) than birthdays.

I wonder if the celebration of birthdays has anything to do with the reformation?
 

paul.fr

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Birthdays, it's a tradition!
« Reply #2 on: 22/03/2007 00:45:52 »
Quite possibly George,

but what about birthday cake? when did they become popular?
 

Offline neilep

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Birthdays, it's a tradition!
« Reply #3 on: 22/03/2007 01:52:59 »
Quite possibly George,

but what about birthday cake? when did they become popular?

Probably when the cake manufacturers realised that there was a gap in the market and created birthday cakes !


...though I suspect this isn't true !......according to Wiki "The birthday cake has been an integral part of the birthday tradition in Western cultures since the middle of the 19th century".............but it does not report on the origins.........though I suspect the era may reveal some clues.


This then begs the question....when did making a wish upon blowing the candles out arise ?...probably very soon after I would imagine.
 

Offline Karen W.

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Birthdays, it's a tradition!
« Reply #4 on: 22/03/2007 01:58:57 »
Good Question! I would never have thought about any of this! LOL
 

paul.fr

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Birthdays, it's a tradition!
« Reply #5 on: 22/03/2007 02:09:40 »
not associated with birthdays, but why do we make a wish on breaking the chickens "wish bone"?
 

Offline Karen W.

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Birthdays, it's a tradition!
« Reply #6 on: 22/03/2007 02:24:54 »
I always thought that was a turkey bone!! Do chickens even have a wishbone? We always made the wish on thanksgiving in my family. My parents and grandmother gave the wishbone to the child who had used his best manners at the table and helped with the meal. She also saved the unbroken ones and cleaned and crocheted around them making thies elaborate hangers for these crocheted sewing kits she made. She was a bit eccentric. She was sweet!!
 

another_someone

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Birthdays, it's a tradition!
« Reply #7 on: 23/03/2007 00:56:58 »
Quite possibly George,

but what about birthday cake? when did they become popular?

The idea of having a feast for any special day is very old (just look at the Bible), and with that feasts would be lots of baking, and other preparation of food.

The idea of a stylised birthday cake, with stylised candles, does seem typical of the Victorian idea of creating a stylistic notion of English history - most of it totally fabricated, but if gave them a sense of tradition and identity, and sense that they were continuing some ancient tradition, even when no such tradition existed.  I can't say whether the birthday cake did comes from that time, but Neil's quote from Wiki seems to indicate it may well be, and it would be consistent with so much else they were doing.
 

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Birthdays, it's a tradition!
« Reply #7 on: 23/03/2007 00:56:58 »

 

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