History of Birthdays

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Have you ever wondered the History of Birthdays? That’s what this post is about.

Have you ever wondered the History of Birthdays? That's what this post is about.

The History of Birthdays

Originally, before calendars, people didn’t even know what day they were born, let alone what day it was currently. So birthdays were not celebrated. When birthdays were starting to be celebrated, it was for the rich mostly. Eventually it spread to the common folk.

In Ancient Greece and Egypt, birthdays were thought to be a time when bad or evil spirits were able to harm you since this was a day that changed a person’s life. It was thought that to be safe, you had to have your family and friends around you so that their good wishes and presents would keep the bad spirits away. People used noisemakers too to scare away the evil spirits.

Christians celebrated death days instead of birthdays originally because going to Heaven was considered a bigger event than being born. After people celebrated Jesus’s birthday, birthdays became more common.

Birthday Cake

Why did people light candles? It was believed that gods lived in the sky and so lighting candles was like sending a signal or payer to the gods. Blowing out the candles and making a wish was a way of sending a message to the Gods. The Germans may have been the first people to have a cake with candles at birthday parties. It spread from there. Cakes originally were more like bread but eventually sweeter versions became popular.

Happy Birthday Song

Patty and Mildred J Hill were sisters and teachers. In 1893 they wrote a song called Good Morning to All for other teachers to use. It was intended to be sung in class at the start of each day.

Robert Coleman published a songbook in 1924 with this song but he added a few extra lyrics. These new lyrics were what we know as the Happy Birthday song. This version quickly became more popular than it’s original lyrics.

Birthday Card

Birthday cards being sold in stores became a thing in the late 19th century. They contained funny sayings remarking about how people were becoming old. They became popular shortly after Christmas cards were sold in stores.


Balloons and other cheap flying things were used for different things in the more recent past. Using balloons for fun happened shortly after that. The first rubber balloons were made in 1824. By the late 1800s balloons were common at big gatherings.

What’s Your Favourite Part of Birthdays?

Please comment on your favourite part of birthdays.



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