Many of us have grown up celebrating birthdays every year! And we have all followed an age-old custom of cutting a cake and blowing the candles – a number that increases with our age! But have we ever wondered why we blow a candle before making a wish on our birthdays? Read on to find out the logic!
History of Blowing Candles on Birthday’s
The tradition of blowing out candles on birthdays can be dated to the Ancient Greeks! The Greeks baked round white cakes to represent the Moon and lighted candles on the cake as a tribute to the Moon Goddess – Artemis, the twin sister of Apollo – the Greek God of music and medicine.
The lighted candles were seen to give a special glow to the white cake which represented the moon. And, believing that the smoke carried their wishes and prayers to heavens and Olympus – the abode of the Greek Gods.
Cake Tradition for Birthdays
A similar tradition was also followed by the Germans which started during the early 1400s. They baked cakes for special occasions like weddings and the term ‘cakes’ was interchangeable with the term ‘bread.’
That is one of the main reasons why we use Baking for both words! But in the upcoming years, bakeries started baking cakes for birthdays as well! They were initially prepared for special events like 1st birthdays, 50th birthdays and a candle was lit in the middle of the cake.
This candle represented the “Light of Life” according to German traditions. Personally, I find this tradition from the German perspective a little flawed because why does one blow out the “Light of Life” on their birthday?
Different other scholars have accredited this practice of blowing candles to the tradition of warding away evil souls and bless the person with prosperity and enjoyable life.
This tradition is followed today by millions all over the world! But how many actually know why we do this? Although this culture is a contradiction to many other traditions found in religions like Hinduism, Buddhism where candles or lamps are lit but not blown out since there is a firm belief in the optimism of an illuminated source and blowing out candles is seen as a bad practice. A lot of people nevertheless follows this blowing of candles on birthdays without them knowing the reason behind it!
So readers! Spread the word about the history of blowing candles and also tell us if you have had any theories about why candles are blown out on birthdays!