As I type this, I am making plans to stop by Sprinkles at Legacy West on the way to work. I want to get me a birthday cupcake. Sprinkles does them best. And I guess I have the Germans to thank for this tradition. You see, today (5.15) is my birthday. I read an article recently that gave a brief history of celebrating birthdays and they did not always have such wide appeal. Here is a quick summary. (See here for full article)
The earliest recorded birthday celebration was about 3500 B.C.E., but it was more likely a celebration of the Egyptian Pharaoh ascending to the throne and thus becoming a deity in the Egyptian culture. So not a real birthday. Kind of a rebirth birthday.
The Greeks offered cakes to Artemis; and eventually, they added candles for a glowing effect. The Romans spread the practice of celebrating birthdays for commoner – but sorry ladies, it was just for the men.
Early Christians avoided celebrating birthdays. They connected it to pagan rituals and thus tried to avoid this (until they took it over – I mean, food, celebrations, parties – sounds like a baptist fellowship to me).
But the Germans – they invented the contemporary birthday cakes. Wahoo. Now the practice was more for kinder, kids, but I know few adults who will pass on cake.
The industrial revolution brought cakes to the masses. Pre-made cakes made them affordable and available.
Traditions are important. They give a cohesion between generations. They bridge events and places and memories by giving purpose and emotions. They reinforce values, strengthen relationships, and can even create avenues for future memories and connections.
So celebrate traditions and maybe even create some new ones. Spend time with friends and family. And also, have a cupcake or a slice of cake – and blame it on me – because it’s my birthday!!!
Bonus – this day in history …
- Nolan Ryan pitches his first no-hitter, 1973
- ‘Ebony and Ivory’ hits number 1 (stays there for seven weeks), 1982
- George Wallace is shot, 1972
- First Allied jets fly over Europe, 1941
- The French and Indian War began, 1756
- Sherman, TX decimated by Tornado – 73 die, 1896