For some, it is the most beautiful day of the year – for the others a date on which they would like to be swallowed up by the open ground: their own birthday. But we at Pickmotion love birthdays and happily celebrate them. Elsewhere, of course, this varies from person to person, and in some families, you sometimes can not get out of the festivities, while for others it’s just a day like any other.
The birthday is a festivity that is celebrated almost everywhere in the world. But not always this is done in the same way – birthday customs differ, as well as birthday wishes. We went on a little trip around the world to introduce you to some of the many different rituals.
Alles Gute zum Geburtstag you say in Germany
Here it is a good manner that invitation cards are sent for a birthday, cakes will be eaten and gifts are presented to the birthday child. But even in this country, there are very special birthday customs in some regions.
On the 14th birthday, the birthday child is doused with milk and becomes a Milchbubi or Milchmädchen.
At the age of sixteen, it is customary in Friesland to pour flour over the birthday child. This tradition is also called breading and usually takes place on the way to school.
On the 18th birthday, raw eggs are smashed on the head of the person who is now full of age.
If you’re still unmarried as a man on your 30th birthday, you have to sweep the town hall steps for public display. You only can be redeemed by a kiss of a virgin. In return, a single woman has to clean latches on her 30th birthday.
Feliz Cumpleaños you say in Latin America and Spain
In Spain and some Latin American countries, the Piñata is at the center of attention on the birthday. This is a colorful piece of papier-mâché filled with lots of sweets and fruits and hung in such a way that it can only be reached with a stick. Blindfolded, the birthday child, together with the other children, can then smack the Piñata until the contents fall out.
Parabens e muitas felicidades you say in Brasil
A birthday custom in Brasil has to do with the ears of the birthday person – here the person is pulled on the earlobe as often as it has grown old.
Happy Birthday you say in England
The English birthday cake is always filled with a small lucky charm in the form of a piece of jewelry or a coin and a thimble. Who caught the lucky charm, should have particularly good luck and prosperity in the next year. This tradition has already a very long history, and nowadays often small gifts such as toys are baked in the cake. Anyone who finds a thimble in the birthday cake should remain unmarried according to the English custom.
Tillykke med fødselsdagen you say in Denmark
The Danes make no secret of their birthday. When the big day arrives, the house is decorated with a national flag. If a child has a birthday, the gifts are arranged around the bed at night, so that it can enjoy the sight of its gifts when waking up in the morning.
Gratulerer med dagen you say in Norway
Similar to Denmark, a national flag indicates that someone is celebrating a birthday in the house. The birthday child traditionally dances in front of the school class on its day of honour, while the classmates sing to it.
Veels geluk met jou verjaarsdag you say in South Africa
On the 21st birthday, South Africans get a key from their parents which should symbolize the responsibility of the birthday child for its future. With this key, they symbolically open the door to it. Since the key has only a symbolic character, it can also be made of aluminum foil or paper.
Zhu ni sheng ri kuai le you say in China
In China, there is not a classic birthday cake but the birthday noodles (“Yi Mein”). They are referred to as “Long Life Noodles”. The custom in China says it’s unlucky not to eat birthday noodles on your birthday. Noodles are representing longevity in China, so the noodles that you put in your mouth should be as long as possible before you bite for the first time. The longer this noodle, the longer you have a happy and fulfilling life.
And there are so many other birthday rituals in the world that are as different as we humans. Do you have special birthday customs? If yes, which? Share with us how you celebrate birthdays in your very own way.