Yes, today is my birthday, and I am celebrating and experiencing it ‘modern day style’ – via social media. My Facebook page is amass with birthday greetings, which I must say is a splendid way to start the day! I’ve spent the past hour reading through the birthday wishes, listening to birthday songs, hearing from old friends and new ones alike, and writing thank you notes in kind.
One Facebook Friend suggested that I ‘eat cake,’ another sent me a photo of cake (quite beautiful), which brings me to today’s subject : The Origins of Birthday Cake! I did a bit of Internet research and here’s what I unearthed!
The Origins of Birthday Cake
A number of historians believe that the birthday cake was first cooked-up in ancient Greece.
The Greeks formed round or moon shaped honey cakes or bread and took them to the Temple of Artemis to honor the Goddess of the Moon. They placed candles on the cake so that it would glow like the moon, and the smoke of the lit candles carried their wishes and prayers to the Gods who lived up above, in the sky.
Others think that the ritual originated in Germany during the Middle Ages. Reportedly, a sweetened dough was made in the shape of the baby Jesus and was used to commemorate his birthday.
Later on – the Kinderfest – birthday celebrations re-emerged in celebration of young children. The Germans placed a large candle in the center of the cake to symbolize ‘the light of life.’
In medieval times, the English placed symbolic objects inside their cakes. Sometimes coins or thimbles were mixed into the batter. The person who bit into the coin was sure to be wealthy, while the poor person who found the thimble would never marry. (Oh my! Imagine that.)
Further, some believed that if the cake fell while baking it was believed an ominous sign and the poor birthday girl or boy was guaranteed an entire year of bad luck.
Today, we believe, that if we blow out all our candles in one breath, our wish will come true. That being the case, I shall opt for one candle per decade!
Here’s to luscious cakes, sweet dreams and delicious wishes on birthdays and un-birthdays, alike!
Spread the word … NOT the icing!
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