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why do we eat cake on birthdays

Though the exact origin and significance of the candle blowing ritual is unknown, there are multiple theories which try to explain this tradition. One theory explaining the tradition of placing candles on birthday cakes is attributed to the early Greeks, who used candles to honor the goddess Artemis' birth on the sixth day of every lunar month. [ The link between her oversight of fertility and the birthday tradition of candles on cakes, however, has not been established. [ The use of fire in certain rites dates back to the creation of altars. Birthday candles hold symbolic power. In the past it was believed that evil spirits visited people on their birthdays and that, to protect the person whose birthday it was from evil, people must surround the individual and make them merry. Party-goers made noise to scare away evil spirits. In 18th century Germany, the history of candles on cakes can be traced back to Kinderfest, a birthday celebration for children. This tradition also makes use of candles and cakes. German children were taken to an auditorium-like space. There, they were free to celebrate another year in a place where Germans believed that adults protected children from the evil spirits attempting to steal their souls. In those times there was no tradition of bringing gifts to a birthday; guests would merely 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 whose birthday it was. Later, flowers became quite popular as a birthday gift. In 1746, a large birthday festival was held for Count
at Marienborn near. Andrew Frey described the party in detail and mentions, "there was a Cake as large as any Oven could be found to bake it, and Holes made in the Cake according to the Years of the Persons Age, every one having a Candle stuck into it, and one in the Middle. " -Gotha-Altenburg]], recounts of his 52nd birthday on 28 August: ". when it was time for dessert, the prince's entire livery in full regalia entered, led by the majordomo. He carried a generous-size torte with colorful flaming candles - amounting to some fifty candles - that began to melt and threatened to burn down, instead of there being enough room for candles indicating upcoming years, as is the case with children's festivities of this kind. " As the excerpt indicates, the tradition at the time was to place one candle on the cake for each year of the individual's life, so that the number of candles on top of the cake would represent the age which someone had reached; sometimes a birthday cake would have some candles 'indicating upcoming years. ' A reference to the tradition of blowing out the candles was documented in Switzerland in 1881.

Researchers for the Folk-Lore Journal recorded various "superstitions" among the Swiss middle class. One statement depicted a birthday cake as having lighted candles which correspond to each year of life. These candles were required to be blown out, individually, by the person who is being celebrated. White, marble, chocolate, German chocolate, ice cream: There are hundreds of types of birthday cake in the world, each beautiful in its own sugary way. Odds are, youБve indulged in one during at least one (hopefully all) of your birthday parties. But in between delicious bites of cake and frosting, have you ever stopped and wondered, БWhy am I eating this? What makes this dessert fit to commemorate the day of my birth? Б ItБs because you are as important and beloved as the gods. Kind of. The ancient Egyptians are credited with БinventingБ the celebration of birthdays. They believed when pharaohs were crowned, they became gods, so their coronation day was a pretty big deal. That was their БbirthБ as a god. Ancient Greeks borrowed the tradition, but rightfully realized that a dessert would make the celebration all the more meaningful. So they baked moon-shaped cakes to offer up to Artemis, goddess of the moon, as tribute.

They decorated them with lit candles to make the cakes shine like the moon. Hence, the reason we light our birthday cakes on fire. Modern birthday parties are said to get their roots from the 18th century German celebration Б. Б On the morning of a childБs birthday, he or she would receive a cake with lighted candles that added up to the kidБs age, plus one. This extra candle was called the Бlight of life,Б representing the hope of another full year lived. And then, tortureБbecause no one could eat the cake until after dinner. The family replaced the candles as they burned out throughout the day. Finally, when the moment came, the birthday child would make a wish, try to blow out all the candles in one breath, and dig in. (Sorry to break it to you, but youБve probably been your whole life. ) Like modern tradition, the birthday girl or boy wouldnБt tell anyone the wish so it would come true. Since the ingredients to make cakes were pretty expensive, this birthday custom didnБt become popular until the Industrial Revolution. More ingredients were available, which made them cheaper, and bakeries even started selling pre-baked cakes. And thank goodness, because along with delectable desserts, the evolution of birthday cakes has blessed us with another pastime: looking at.

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