It is common for us to celebrate our loved one’s birthday with the blowing of candles and cake cutting. But have you ever wondered when and why this tradition started?
The credit of inventing the celebration of birthday goes to ancient Egyptians. According to their belief, when pharaohs were crowned, they turn to gods. And hence, they celebrated the event of birth in a grant way. It is said that the first birthday cake was made in the middle ages in Germany as a part of a kid’s birthday celebration. The celebration was called the Kinderfest. But, the cakes made then were bread-like. Later, the sweeter version called Geburstagorten was introduced.
During the 17th century, birthday cakes were decorated with layers and icing. But since the ingredients were high priced, the cakes were affordable only by the wealthy upper-class people. When the utensils and ingredients became more accessible in the 18th century, it became a common practice to make a cake by all.
Why is birthday cake decorated with lighted candles?
Ancient Greeks were the ones to introduce the celebration of birthdays with the dessert to make it more meaningful. They baked moon-shaped cakes to offer Artemis, the goddess of the moon and the hunt, and decorated it with candles. The lighting of the candles on the cake makes it shine like the moon. They also believed that smoke from the candles carried their prayer and wishes to God in the sky.
Another story behind the lighting of the candle on the cake is believed to be started by Germans. The candles were placed on the cake to represent the light of life, the hope of a happy one year ahead. On the birthday morning, the kid would receive the cake with lighted candles. The number of candles adds up to the kid and one more. The extra candle is called the light of life.
Whatever the history, even today no birthday party is complete without baking a cake, lighting the candles on the cake, and without the birthday song sung to wish the person on his birthday. A silent prayer is also made while blowing out the candles, all in one breath. And, it is important not to tell anyone else about your wish. The number of candles on the cake represents the age of the person.
Today, we have thousands of flavours of cakes to choose from, with unlimited options for decorating the cake – with flowers, fruits, animal patterns, and what not? Yet, some of the most popular and all-time favourite flavours include red velvet and classic chocolate. Moreover, we need not wait for our birthday to come for enjoying the cake. The pre-made cakes are available in every bakery. We can enjoy the cake at nearly any celebration. What’s your reason to have the dessert today?