Apart from the obvious answer about why we celebrate fun birthdays… have you ever stopped to think about this age-old tradition?
Birthdays date way back in history to a time when people originally feared evil spirits. These evil spirits were thought to be more active on the day of your birth. Family and friends would gather in a circle around the birthday person and would chant and sing bringing them nothing but good thoughts. The giving of gifts was another to bring even more cheer and goodwill to ward off the evil spirits.
Noisemakers were also thought to have been used at these parties as another way of scaring evil spirits away. Torches or candles would be lit believing they were sending a prayer to the gods and when the candles were blown out it was thought that the smoke carried these prayers or wishes into the heavens, where they thought the gods lived, so they would be granted.
Looking back through history the only documented birthdays recorded are of kings and other noble dignitaries. The poorer people and especially children did not celebrate at all. Historians have explained this, as only nobility was wealthy enough to be able to afford such an extravagance as a party.
It is the Germans who have been given credit for starting to celebrate children’s birthdays. These celebrations were originally called “kinderfeste” meaning children’s festival.
A song called “Good Morning To You” written by Mildred and Patti in 1893 was almost totally overlooked until some one changed the words to “Happy Birthday To You”. This little song is now sung in almost every home somewhere in the world at least once a year.
In today’s society, fun birthdays are eagerly awaited by the young and older generation. It is a celebration that is now an occasion, not only enjoyed by family members but friends as well.
Nowadays parties tend to have a theme attached. They may follow the lines of a character in history, a children’s comic or cartoon character, a picnic in the park or just a an outing to the zoo.
Giving presents to the birthday boy or girl is still a tradition. However, in later years it has also been a tradition to give a small gift known as party favors, to every party guest as they leave. They usually consist of a few sweets and a small gift wrapped up in a themed bag or a container that may have been used for the party itself.
So next time it’s your birthday, you’ll know why your celebrating it!!!