Birthday Candle Superstition
Once a year, each of us is gifted a day that is all ours. Others may indeed share this special day with you, but in your world, this is your day.
Most of us celebrate this day among friends and family. It's the one day no one is going to disagree about the restaurant you want to eat at or the movie you want to watch. At some point, someone will appear with a glorious dessert. Hopefully, it's on your favorite list and a candle. If not, many will sit on top of the glorious treat.
I remember my thirteenth years old, staring into the flames that danced upon my cake and wondering where this tradition of wishing into fire originated. So I went looking, and this is what I found.
Birthday Candles, according to food historians, began with ancient greek festivals. During celebrations during spring, people would carry circular cakes with small torches. These would be offerings to the moon goddess Artemis thanking her for the light of the moon.
Romans would celebrate with gifts of feasting. Gifts for the individual, but also offerings for their persons guiding spirit, were a necessity. These gifts would consist of honey cakes, wine, and incense. They would light candles and recite prayers to their deities.
Early Christians wouldn't celebrate the day of their physical birth but instead would celebrate their baptismal day. These celebrations would be somber events, consisting mainly of members of the immediate family. During medieval times birthdays went uncelebrated primarily due to not knowing specific dates and the lack of records. Instead, parents would remember the births of their children using saints days or seasonal festivities.
Birthday celebrations, as we know them today, may have started in medieval Germany. People believed that the birthdays of the young were a time of festivities and potential danger. On this day, young people were more susceptible to evil spirits and bad omens. To ward off this ill will, a candle would be lit on the top of a cake at the stroke of midnight and allowed to burn all day. The candle was only allowed to be blown out by the youth being celebrated, and the cake must be eating by all who attend the celebration. Guests were encouraged to make happy wishes for birthday celebrators hoping that the candle's smoke would carry the wishes to heaven and straight to God's ears.
Reading about this particular tradition made the most sense to me. In my family, we celebrate each person on their special day, and once the candles are out, each person takes at minimum a bite of cake. To avoid bad luck falling on the birthday person. This is also why Mini-Monster chooses to have Birthday doughnuts and not cake.