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Miscellaneous Monday: Origins of Celebrating Birthdays and Unique Global Traditions!

Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Aug 21, 2022

Happy Monday Everyone!

There are tons of people I know who are all celebrating birthdays this month. I thought instead of a question this week, I would share some random facts from the internet.

First, the origins of celebrating birthdays. From a number of sources it would appear that the first celebrations related to this, were done by the ancient Egyptians. However, this was a celebration for the coronation of their pharaohs as it represented their "birth" as a god. Which later got translated by the Pagans as a way of giving thanks to the spirits that were present when you were born.

Now, I also found one source that listed "Unique" Birthday Traditions from around the world. I would recommend taking these with a grain of salt, as I'm a Canadian and I have been for many years and I have never seen or heard of anyone performing this tradition here:

Brazil: If you’re a child living in Brazil, you may want to protect your ears on your birthday. Family members and friends will pull on a child’s ear for each year of their life. The hope is you’ll grow old enough for your ears to reach the ground! Other countries like Russia, Italy, and Argentina also practice this ear-pulling tradition.

Canada: If you’re in Canada, your ears are safe. However, you might want to watch your nose. In some areas of Canada, the birthday person’s nose is smeared with butter. The greasy substance is meant to keep away bad luck.

China: In China, the first birthday is the biggest celebration. Friends and family gather around the little one while offering small gifts like flowers and books. A traditional Chinese birthday celebration for any age starts with you and your family eating longevity noodles. A longevity noodle is one, really long noodle that would fill the bowl on its own. The long noodle symbolizes a long and prosperous life!

Denmark: In Denmark, you might think you’re celebrating your country rather than your birth. On a person’s birthday, people surround them with the Danish flag…on cakes, plates, balloons, and more. The good news is that all this flag décor can be used over and over for all the birthdays in your home or office.

Ireland: In Ireland, birthdays are a bit upside down. Literally! On your birthday someone flips you upside down and lightly bumps the top of your head for each year, plus one for good luck. This birthday celebration is called “bump to grow an inch.” If you make it through 21 years of head bumps, you get a set of keys on your 21st birthday to symbolize unlocking the door to your future.

Vietnam: In traditional Vietnamese culture, everyone celebrates their birthday on the same day. The day, known as Tet, is the first day of the year. Infants turn one on Tet, no matter how close to the day of Tet the child was born. In modern Vietnam, many people celebrate on their true birth date while also celebrating on Tet. What’s not to love about two birthday celebrations?

Mexico: Piñatas are a popular Mexican birthday celebration. Children gather around to whack the piñatas in an attempt to obtain the candies and treats inside. Some Mexican families also attempt to smash the birthday person’s face in their own cake! As friends and family chant “mordida” the birthday person attempts to sneak a bite of cake without getting their face pushed by others.

I hope you all enjoyed a few fun birthday facts and I hope you all have a wonderful week!

10 comments

Jack Brickey Community Leader Aug 22, 2022

Thanks for sharing @Jimmy Seddon

I celebrated my birthday last Friday. This year's tradition was oysters and a cold brew!

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Aug 23, 2022

Happy Birthday @Jack Brickey!  That sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate!

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Alex Koxaras Community Leader Aug 23, 2022

Happy delayed birthday Jack!

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Craig Nodwell Community Leader Aug 25, 2022

Happy belated birthday @Jack Brickey 

Brant Schroeder Community Leader Aug 26, 2022

Happy Birthday, @Jack Brickey !

Jack Brickey Community Leader Aug 26, 2022

Thanks all! I appreciate the well wishes.

Happy B-Day @Jack Brickey 

Alex Koxaras Community Leader Aug 23, 2022

Thanx for this article @Jimmy Seddon !

After reading this, I felt blessed living in Greece, where we don't have any of the ears-pulling, nose-buttering, flag-surrounding customs! Well.. there could be a few in Greece as well, but I'm lucky to have parents/friends who were not following any of that.

Just presents, cake, good friends and laughs!

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Aug 24, 2022

I'm good with that tradition as well @Alex Koxaras!

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Brant Schroeder Community Leader Aug 26, 2022

@Alex Koxaras Nice, I like simple.

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Wow, I love this topic! 

Here in Bulgaria, we sometimes pour water over a person's head for "health and prosperity."

Gosh, you may figure out the interpretations of this "tradition." I recall my brother waking me up with a bucket of cold water... And YES, I woke up :D

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Aug 24, 2022

@Teodora _Old Street Solutions_ that is an interesting one I have never heard before.  The real question is... did you return the favor?

Did a slap in the face with a piece of cake count? 

Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Aug 24, 2022

If he enjoyed it, then no.

Craig Nodwell Community Leader Aug 26, 2022

A slap in the face with a piece of cake... ahhh brothers :)

Summer.Hogan Community Leader Aug 24, 2022

Thanks for sharing @Jimmy Seddon - interesting facts! 

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Craig Nodwell Community Leader Aug 25, 2022

AhYup, I'm Canadian and not so young.  I've never heard of this butter thing.  For us it's simply your day and no one else's.  Well except for 2 of my grandsons they were born on the same day, but they live in different towns so....

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Brant Schroeder Community Leader Aug 25, 2022

@Jimmy Seddon Nice post.  In Idaho it is traditional to eat a potato on your birthday. (sarcasm) Now we just use potato flour in the cake.  This is much better than the previous option.  

i4.photobucket.com_albums_y107_cheerbabe61384_potato_1

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Andy Gladstone Community Leader Sep 01, 2022

@Jimmy Seddon happy belated birthday - my excuse of being on vacation out of country is wearing thin!

As a man who has studied his Five Books of Moses, your opening paragraph is correct. The first mention of birthday celebrations recorded is when the Pharaoh's butler and baker were sent to the same prison as Joseph and he interpreted their dreams. He told the butler that the three grape branches symbolized three days, and that on the third day Pharaoh will re-instate him to his position. In Genesis 40:20 it says:

"On the third day—his birthday—Pharaoh made a banquet for all his officials, and he singled out*singled out Lit. “lifted the head of.” Cf. at vv. 13, 19. his chief cupbearer and his chief baker from among his officials."

The baker was not as lucky in Genesis 40:22:

but the chief baker he impaled—just as Joseph had interpreted to them.

My birthday wish to you is that you should have continued success and good fortune in life like the butler!

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When I used to work in Summer camps, we had a tradition that on your birthday you got paraded around the dining hall, while everyone sang to you:

Round the tables, you must go, you must go, you must go

Round the tables, you must go, it's your birthday!

Back around the other way, other way, other way, 

Back around the other way, on your birthday!

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Sep 28, 2022

That's a really cute idea!

Hi @Jimmy Seddon ,

here in Italy, there is the same approach such as in Brazil. Family members and friends will pull on a child’s ear for each year of their life.

That's strange but it happens :)

Fabio

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Jimmy Seddon Community Leader Sep 28, 2022

I can think of much worse things that could happen so I'm glad that it's something relatively simple.

great information, thanks @Jimmy Seddon for sharing this info. 

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