Birthday Party History While we typically celebrate birthdays today with cake, treats, family and fun, the history of birthday parties was not always such a jovial occasion. Such is seen in Europe’s history thousands of years ago. Originally, a person feared their upcoming birthday. It was seen as a fearful experience because people believed bad spirits could harm you on this day. Birthday parties were devised as a way to keep those spirits away by surrounding yourself with friends and loved ones who often brought small tokens and food to share. People would use noisemakers to scare off any evil spirits that may be lurking around the house. It was in the middle ages that birthday parties began to take on a more celebratory state and the tone turned more positive. But they were not yet commonplace amongst peasants. In fact, most birthday parties were only celebrated by royalty or the very wealthy. It wasn’t until reformation that the birthday party became a more common occurrence in England. People then began to make cakes and treats for the birthday person and would often tuck small fortune tokens into the cake for guests. It is thought that children’s birthday parties originated in Germany and was called Kinderfeste. Over time, birthday parties have evolved from small gatherings to ward away evil spirits, to wealthy or royalty held events to what is now known as our modern birthday parties. In fact, most people celebrate with some sort of party, especially children. A cake is typically commonplace and almost always is alit with birthday candles, which the birthday person gets to blow out and make a wish.
Happy Birthday To You There is one thing and one thing only that announces to everyone it is time for cake, and it is my birthday. The words are simple and everyone who can speak English knows the words, from a toddler to someone who is 100 years old. Comprised of 4 bars, 16 words each the tune is simple and the meaning is deep. In fact, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Happy Birthday is the most popular song in the English Language. And although it has been translated into many different languages, it is usually sung in English, even in countries that don’t speak English as their primary language. The Hill sisters composed the tune, - Happy Birthday To You-, in 1893. Originally the schoolteachers wrote the tune to a song entitles - Good Morning To You - and was sung to the classroom every morning. But the version we know was copyrighted in 1935 and the copyright is scheduled to expire in 2030. In fact, technically it is illegal to publicly perform - Happy Birthday To You - unless royalties are paid to the Summy Company and its owner Warner Chappell who bought the company in 1990. The value of the song itself is estimated at $5 million. It is still unclear who wrote the words to the song though. Because of some strict copyright issues, filmmakers rarely show the full content of the song being performed in any movies. This is why sometimes you will see the public-domain song - For He’s A Jolly Good Fellow - performed instead, or the song being removed entirely.
What Is A Birthday? Birthdays are celebrated all over the world but just what is a birthday? Birthdays are the day most people in many cultures celebrate the anniversary of their birth. Most people mark this special day with a party and gifts are given. These gifts are sometimes known as a rite of passage during special milestone birthdays. During birthday parties one of the most popular traditions is the birthday cake. Typically ornately decorated and lit with candles that the birthday person gets to make a silent wish on then blow out. The number of candles on the cake coincides with the age of the person blowing the candles out. Sometimes when the number of candles is too great, people use special number candles readily available. Also it is a common tradition for the birthday person to cut and receive the first piece of cake. On someone’s birthday, they are supposed to receive special treatment from family and friends. This includes, gift giving, special meals or dining out. Children’s birthdays usually include games and sometimes special entertainment like a clown or magician. Parties can include balloons, streamers and party favors for guests. Special gifts for birthdays sometimes include the giving of a birthstone. This is a precious stone that goes with the month of birth. Birthstones seem to originate from biblical times. There is also a list of birth flowers. Like the stones, this lists flowers that match the month of birth. It is considered to be very good luck to receive your birth flower on your birthday with the number of blooms matching your age.
Our Nation’s Birthday On July 4th, we celebrate probably the most important birthday to those of us who live in the US. July 4th, 1776 is the day we celebrate our Nations birthday. For some this is just another day off, a day to watch fireworks, party with family and friends, have a few beers or take a little vacation. But there is so much more to celebrating our Nations birthday. July 4th is an important day in our history. It is the day we should remember all of the rights and freedoms we have as Americans and enjoy them. Many made the ultimate sacrifice to ensure our freedom and freedom does not come cheap. On our Nations birthday, we should take time to remember those who made those sacrifices. All of the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence did not live to see what their sacrifices provided us. In fact, 5 signers were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve went home to find their dwellings ransacked and burned and nine fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war. That is almost half the men who signed out nations greatest symbol of freedom. But they signed it anyway, knowing that in doing so, they were committing treason and could be sentenced to death if they were caught. Some of us take this holiday for granted. Our Nations birthday, July 4th should be celebrated with family and friends. Enjoy the fireworks and Bar-B-Q’s, the picnics and the fun. But take time to remember those who put themselves at risk so we could live in a free country.
Birthday Cake It is commonplace in the US to celebrate our birthday with a beautiful and tasty birthday cake. Although the Greeks were the first to use cakes to celebrate birthdays, they were commonly used to celebrate the birthdays of gods and goddesses. And the inclusion of candles on a birthday cake is also of Greek origin as the cake to celebrate the birthday of the Greek moon god Artemis was topped with lit candles. In the middle ages, the English would conceal symbolic items inside the cake. Each item was a prediction for the finder’s future. Usually items such as gold coins, rings and thimbles were baked into the cake. The birthday cake made its way to Western culture in the mid 19th century and has been an important part of birthday celebrations since. When cutting into ones birthday cake, there are little superstitions some people believe. If the knife touches the bottom, or when pulling the knife from the cake itself there are pieces of cake stuck to the knife, than the birthday person must kiss the nearest person of the opposite sex. Another belief is when you blow the candles out on your cake, you are supposed to make a wish. If the candles are blown out in one blow and the wisher keeps the wish a secret, then it is believed the wish will come true. Birthday cakes are typically highly decorated with lots of colors and flowers or something of that sort. For kids, it is popular to have cartoon characters or their favorite them on the cake. Cakes can go from home made, simple designs to more elaborate cakes that can cost hundreds of dollars.
Unconventional Birthdays Though commonly known to celebrate the wonderful day we came into existence, it is not the only reason we celebrate birthdays. There are lots of unconventional birthdays that are celebrated throughout the world. Actually, the number of reasons to celebrate unconventional birthdays is infinite. People use the term - Birthday - to describe milestones in their lives. The term is also used to mark important beginnings or ends in a person’s life. Recovery group’s use the term Birthday to mark the day a person has entered into the 12-step recovery program and quit drug or alcohol abuse. This day is marked every year with a - birthday chip-, a token to remind you of the hard work done to get through that year and the long road still ahead of you. Another term using birthday is - Birthday Suit-. There is almost no need for explanation, but for those few who don’t know what a birthday suit is, it is the wearing of nothing. On the day of your birth, you came out of the womb naked therefore being in your - birthday suit - you are naked. The term birthday can also be used for when something is created. Typically the year, month and date are used when describing the birthday of an entity. Businesses often have a birthday to celebrate. That is usually the day the company was created. So not only do we as people celebrate the day we were brought into this world, but we like to celebrate the day of creation for the world around us.
Baby’s First Birthday In the US, we celebrate birthdays in the grandest ways. We spend countless amounts of money and time planning and carrying out these special parties that last just hours. When we give birth to a new bundle of joy we typically spend the first year so crazed that it seems only right to celebrate that special time with a big celebration of family and friends. Because a baby’s first birthday is usually a celebration of friends and family, they tend to be a huge milestone. All those people who watched mom grow and give birth, then see how the baby grows throughout the first year now have a reason to get together to celebrate again. And because the baby doesn’t remember their first birthday, it really makes it about the parents. One important thing that the birthday boy or girl does get to do is celebrate with their own piece of cake, or even their own small cake. Typically they are left to their own accord with it and with a little encouragement, the child digs in with hands and face to enjoy their first birthday treat. It is understood that they will make a mess and pictures will be taken. But that is all part of the fun. Like with all birthdays, gifts are given to the birthday child. Mostly toys and clothes since they spend their first few years outgrowing everything they have. And since most kids first birthdays are so overwhelming, they tend to fall asleep leaving the parents, family and friends to enjoy the rest of the day with good food and treats.
Milestone Birthdays While birthdays in themselves are a very special event, there are times in a person’s life when we can’t ignore the milestones they have reached. These birthday parties are usually a little more special and the gifts given tent to be extra special as well. Most of these birthdays are a sort of coming-of-age along with increased privileges and responsibilities. It starts from the beginning. The 1st birthday is typically where it begins. Normally during a child’s first birthday it is more about the family and friends of the parents as opposed to a party for the child’s friends. Most children on their first birthday are given either their own small cake or their own piece to eat however they like. This is usually messy because they go at it with hands and mouths. The next most important milestone birthday is usually the 13th birthday. This is when a child officially becomes a teenager. In some religions this is the year that a child becomes an adult and begins to take on adult responsibilities. After 13 is the one most teens look forward to. The 16th birthday is the year that most US states allow a teen to legally drive without their parents present. When a teenager celebrates their 18th birthday, they are able to legally vote, join the military and are now considered an adult. The next milestone Birthday is the all-important 21st birthday. This is the legal drinking age in the US. The next milestone comes at 35. This is when in most countries, someone can run for the highest political office such as President of the United States. After that, 40 is considered the over the hill birthday and then typically every ten years is another milestone.
Presidents Birthdays Celebrated Not all birthdays are celebrated by the whole country, but in the instance of celebrating the birth of our Presidents, we not only get to celebrate, but lets face it, it is always fun to have a day off work. The day our Presidents birthdays are celebrated is a National holiday. But it has not always been celebrated at the same time. On the third Monday in February, we take time to celebrate the birthdays of some former Presidents. Originally though the Presidents birthdays were celebrated separately. February 22 is George Washington’s actual birthday and the holiday we know now, as Presidents day was actually to celebrate his birthday. Lincoln’s birthday was celebrated at a different time, although his birthday is actually February 12. Lincoln’s birthday was never a federal holiday like Washington’s. The late 1980’s is when the term Presidents Day began its appearance with a push from advertisers. Now, Presidents Day is to honor both Washington and Lincoln and often other Presidents of the United States. But it is not the same throughout the US. In fact, in Massachusetts the governor issues an annual Presidents Day proclamation honoring Presidents that come from Massachusetts. Alabama observes the day as Washington and Jefferson Day, and in Virginia, George Washington’s home state, the holiday is known simply as George Washington Day. So while we all celebrate this day dedicated to our Presidents, it is easy to see that it is not as equally revered throughout the country.
The Queen’s Birthday The US is not the only country that celebrates the birthdays of the most famous people in our society. One of the grandest birthday celebrations is the Queen’s Official Birthday, also known simply as the Queen’s Birthday. It is a holiday that is celebrated in several Commonwealth countries. It is also now celebrated in Fiji, which is now a republic. When appropriate the word Queen is replaced with King, and the actual date varies from country to country, but it usually doesn’t mark the actual birthday of the King or Queen. Currently in the UK, the Queen’s birthday is celebrated the first, second, or third Saturday in June. The birthday is marked with the Trooping the Colour, also known as the Queen’s Birthday Parade. The Trooping the Colour is a military ceremony performed by the British Army. The Queen or King is typically in the parade also, and Queen Elizabeth II rode horseback to the Trooping the Colour until 1987 when she began traveling in a phaeton. The Queen’s Birthday has been celebrated annually in this matter since 1820, except in periods of mourning, in bad weather or other exceptional circumstances. In face, Edward the VII moved the date to June because it is generally the best weather in Britain. In Australia, the Queen’s birthday is on the second Monday in June and is celebrated as a public holiday. It also marks the opening of Australia’s snow season. In Canada, Victoria Day, which is their name for the Queen’s birthday, is celebrated the Monday on or before May 24, though there are some who acknowledge that it is to celebrate Queen Victoria and not the current Queen. It also marks the beginning of Canadian Summer.