We all wait for our birthdays because who doesn’t love getting gifts, wishes and surprises? From pre-booking cakes to go for online flower delivery in India, we leave no stone unturned for celebrating the birthdays of our loved ones. But have you ever wondered from where did all this jazz around birthdays begin? Why do we even care to celebrate our birthdays?
Come to think of it, it is merely an opportunity of having your family and friends come together and make memories while congratulating you for growing old.
However, there are many facts related to the origin of celebrating birthdays and we bet you don’t know most of them.
We don’t have a proper research-backed theory to figure out the precise origin of birthdays or the tradition of cutting cakes. However, thanks to the available information and consensus, an approximate history can be pieced together. Let’s look at some of the most accepted hypotheses by renowned historians regarding birthday celebrations and their evolutions
It all started in Egypt
In ancient times, after the coronation of the pharaohs in Egypt, it was believed that they were divinely promoted into being gods. This made their dates of being crowned way more important than their dates of birth. As per the scholars, the pharaoh’s birthday’s reference in the Bible is the earliest-known mention of any birthday celebration. It dates back to 3,000 B.C.E. However, Egyptologist Dr. Hoffmeier is of the opinion that this date is actually the date of coronation of the subject as that would be the “birth” of a pharaoh as a God.
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The Candles came in from Greece
The Greeks used to offer cakes shaped like moons to lunar Goddess Artemis for paying tribute to her. For recreating the moon’s radiance and her beauty, candles were lit on the cakes to get that glowing effect. Most probably, Greeks borrowed this birthday celebration idea from the Egyptians. This is most likely to be true as the Greeks celebrated their gods similar to the way pharaohs’ transformation into gods was celebrated.
Common Man’s Birthday Celebration started in Rome
As per sources, ancient Romans are regarded as the first civilisation which started celebrating birthdays for common men and non-religious figures. People in Rome began celebrating birthdays of their families and friends and the government came up with public holidays for observing birthdays of known personalities. Special cakes of wheat flour, honey, olive oil and grated cheese were given to people turning fifty. Sadly, it was not until the twelfth century that the birthdays of women started getting celebrated.
German Bakers invented the Modern-Day Birthday Cakes
Kinderfeste took place for the “kinder” or German children in eighteenth-century Germany and is regarded as the closest prerequisite to modern-day birthday parties. This celebration involved both candles as well as birthday cakes. Children received a candle for every year they had been alive along with one more as a symbol of hope to live for at least a year more. The famous ritual of making a wish before blowing out candles also originated from here.
With the Industrial Revolution came in the Yummy Cakes
Initially, only wealthy and privileged has access to sugary cakes for their birthdays as these were seen as luxuries. Industrial Revolution let the proliferation of celebrations like Kinderfeste into other cultures. This made the needed ingredients more abundant and the bakeries started selling pre-baked cakes at low prices because of the advances in the mass production.
Birthdays have come a long way from ancient times to the contemporary scenario of today. They are incomplete without cakes which are available in all shapes and sizes these days. Even the gift options are endless. Online portals that offer services like customizable gifts and flower delivery are also on a rise. Since everything has become easily accessible and available, birthdays have become a very fancy occasion to spread joy, click pictures and to make memories for a lifetime.