How Did the Tradition of Putting Candles on a Birthday Cake Originate and What Does the Custom Mean?

The Greeks borrowed celebrating birthdays from the Egyptian pharaohs and the cake idea from the Persians.

Then early Christians did away with birthday parties for a while until the custom re-emerged with candles in Germany in the twelfth century.

Awakened with the arrival of a birthday cake topped with lighted candles, which were changed and kept lit until after the family meal, the honored child would make a wish that, it was said, would come true only if the candles were blown out in a single breath.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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