My daughter is turning 1 year old today, so that made me think, I wonder how/if ancient people celebrated birthdays and where this whole birthday celebration thing came from....after a little google searching it seems like bad/evil spirits like to try and get you on your birthday, and the best way to ward them off was by surrounding yourself with family and friends....their good wishes and gifts served to help send these nasty spirits packing.
Lighting your birthday candles and making a wish was a way of connecting and sending your message to the gods.
The Greeks are sometimes credited with the first birthday cakes...made round like the moon and with candles to glow, and represent the god Artemis. The Germans are also credited with birthday cakes and some believe the smoke that rises from blowing out the candles are wishes traveling up to the heavens.
This part I consider a little creepy personally, but the Aztecs reportedly would blow up the bowels of cats that had been sacraficed to make balloon type animals...(gross!)
In some places in lieu of a birthday celebration they have more like an initation ceremony...this makes me think of like a first communion or a bar mitzah.
As mentioned in the beginning this is gathered from various pages in a google search, but it's kinda fun to think about and share. What are some of your favorite birthday traditions?