Make A Wish
Everyone likes to be treated special for their birthday. I believe that to be true for everyone. Even those who claim they don’t celebrate anymore. Of all the days in the year, your birthday is a special day! That means it’s time for balloons, presents and of course, cake. So light the candles, let others sing “Happy Birthday,” and make a wish because this age-old birthday tradition is one of the best around!
The history of cakes and candles began in Ancient Greece. The Greeks made round cakes to honor Artemis, the goddess of the moon. They often decorated it with either 1 lit candle or several to represent the glow of the moon. Overtime, other cultures began to make cakes and ate them for their taste, rather than to honor Artemis.
The first birthday cake was believed to have been made in Germany in the middle ages. The Germans used the cake to celebrate the birthdays of young children and called the celebration Kinderfest. It was also here that cakes began to be layered and alternate ingredients were used to make the cake sweeter than the usual coarse, bread-like cake that was usually found. This kind of cake was called Geburtstagorten by the Germans. The 17th century was the period that introduced birthday cakes with a more elaborate detail of icing, layers, and decorations. However, these kinds of cakes were only affordable by the wealthy, upper class due to high prices in ingredients. In the 18th century, food and cooking utensils started to become more accessible, and therefore, more affordable. With that, the price of cakes went down significantly and the quantity of cakes baked went up considerably.
As mentioned above, the Greeks were credited with putting candles on cakes to represent the glow of the moon. They also believed that the smoke from the lit candles carried their prayers and wishes to their Gods who lived in the skies. Some scholars do not attribute the Greeks for the tradition of putting candles on cakes though. Some believe it started in Germany, where a candle was supposedly placed on the cake to represent “the light of life”. Today, many cultures place candles on cakes out of tradition, as well as superstition. Usually, the quantity of candles on a cake is representative to the age being celebrated. The superstition is to make a silent wish and blow out all the candles at one time so the wish comes true. Many believe if the candles are not blown out in one breath or if the wish is told to anyone else, it will not come true.
Celebrate! Make a wish!