Posted in Health, news

Why Do we Celebrate Birthdays? Your Birthday Questions Answered.

The concept of celebrating birthday’s and blowing out candles is an ancient one.  But many want to know why we sing “Happy Birthday to You”, why we blow out candles, why do we have a cake, which is the most common birthday, etc……here’s the scoop.

When did the birthday celebration originate?

Birthday celebrations during early civilizations coincided with astrology.  In later centuries, religious groups were slow to adopt birthday celebrations in fear of adopting pagan rituals.

According to WCCO TV:

Pagans thought that evil spirits lurked on days of major changes, like the day you turn a year older.

The ancient Greeks believed that each person had a spirit that attended his or her birth, and kept watch. That spirit “had a mystic relation with the God on whose birthday the individual was born,” says the book The Lore of Birthdays.

Why do we have birthday cake?

According to hankeringforhistory.com, cultures have been using celebratory breads and cakes for centuries.  But the modern day birthday cake might have originated in Germany during the 1400’s.

Cakes might have been made with dough and sugar, but some would be have rings, coins and buttons thrown in.  If one received the piece with the ring, marriage would be in their future.  If they chose the piece with coins, financial luck was in their future.

Why do we use and then blow out candles?

Ancient cultures would add candles to foods for various reasons, i.e. the smoke would ward off evil spirits.  But it wasn’t until the 1700’s when Germany would adorn birthday cakes with candles for children’s cakes, called Kinderfeste.  Each candle represented a year of the life with additional candles put on for future years.

What are the most popular birthday cake flavors?

A PR Newswire survey, reported by 97.3 The Dawg, found the following flavors to be in the top ten birthday cakes:

 

  • Chocolate
  • Cheesecake
  • Chocolate chip
  • Vanilla or yellow cake
  • Red velvet
  • Marble
  • Carrot
  • Lemon
  • Coconut
  • Funfetti

Not sure why cheesecake is on there, let alone #2??!

Why do we give gifts?

It’s believed the tradition of giving gifts was another attempt to ward off the evil spirits as guests coming to the celebration were asked to bring good thoughts and gifts.

 

Where did the song “Happy Birthday to You” come from?

According to Wikipedia, in 1893 a school principal, Patty Hill and her sister, Mildred, composed a song entitled “Good Morning to All”, the same melody as our modern day “Happy Birthday to You.”

Wikipedia then describes:  The complete text of “Happy Birthday to You” first appeared in print as the final four lines of Edith Goodyear Alger’s poem “Roy’s Birthday”, published in her book A Primer of Work and Play, copyrighted by D. C. Heath in 1901, with no reference to the words being sung.[23] The first book including “Happy Birthday” lyrics set to the tune of “Good Morning to All” that bears a date of publication is from 1911 in The Elementary Worker and His Work, but earlier references exist to a song called “Happy Birthday to You” including an article from 1901 in the Inland Educator and Indiana School Journal.

What is the most popular birthday gift?

In the past it could be a plate of food, the cake, a song, or an ash tray made in art class.  Currently, the most popular gift is a gift card.

When is Dr. Daliah’s Birthday?

June 16.  Yeah!  Happy Birthday to me!

baby d

Which month has the most birthdays?

Various studies have found August, September and October to be the busiest birthday months (probably because their parents snuggled during the winter season).  But one Harvard study looking at babies born between 1973 and 1999 found September 16th to be most popular birthday.

Which day the least popular birthday?

For obvious Leap Year reasons, less people have their birthday on February 29 than any other day of the year.  However, the month of January per VizWiz below have the least amount of birthdays.

How-common-is-your-birthday (1)

 

                                                                                                       LearnHealthSpanish.com

                                                                                                         Medical Spanish made easy

Daliah Wachs, MD, FAAFP is a nationally syndicated radio personality on GCN Network, iHeart Radio and Board Certified Family Physician

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Author:

Nationally Syndicated Radio Host, Board Certified Family Medicine Physician, Assistant Professor Touro University Nevada

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