Birthdays are special days to humans, it comes once in a year and it’s a day that celebrates that lovely day we came into this world.
Birthdays are celebrated in different ways in numerous cultures mostly with gifts, parties or right of passage.
Also, though this aspect of birthday is widely neglected by contemporary writers, birthdays are ways of celebrating the dead. In some communities, for instance, the dead are celebrated or remembered on their birthdays. Many religions celebrate the death of their founders with special holidays.
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While it is so apparent that the western idea of celebrating birthdays swept into the nook and crannies of the world with their birthday cakes, candles, flamboyant parties, parties games, and soft drinks. It is worthy to note that right from the beginning of humankind existence, many cultures had and still practise long-standing traditional ways of celebrating birthdays in special and unique ways.
Although the list of birthday celebration norms does not entirely represent every culture or traditions, we are however certain that many of these are more cultural and hypothetical than in reality.
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eCards instead of paper cards on Birthdays UK, United States, and Australia
Although birthday cakes, parties, and gifts are still in practice in this part of the world. Sending beautiful birthday ecards with a customised message to the celebrant’s is now the new normal.
The general idea is that sending a birthday eCard is more cost-effective, fast to delivery, measurable and socially responsible. Hence, a lot of westerners prefer to send an eCard with a customised message to the recipient. You can send also a birthday ecards with dogs or send an ecard to donate to a charitable cause in the UK
Pledging a birthday instead of organising parties and accepting gifts from friends
This has been a trending way of celebrating birthdays in most western countries.
A birthday pledge is a unique way to celebrate your birthday by allowing your friends and family to make a life-saving donation to a charity instead of buying you a gift. Pledging your birthday is free and once you have pledged, a campaign page is created for you where your friends can make donations for your birthday.
The belief is that instead of organising a lavish birthday party and getting gifts that you might end up not using, once could make birthdays special by making use of that special day to immensely contribute to making the world a better place to be.
Sweeping the Streets of City Hall on 30th birthdays
When a man turns 30 in Germany, an old tradition is for them to sweep the steps of their local city hall as their friends toss rubble onto them. The ordeal, meant to embarrass, is supposed to carry on until the birthday boy can plant one on a passing woman.
Germany birthday traditions also strictly adhere to the celebrant buying drinks for friends on birthdays instead of the other way round.
Nonetheless, unlike the male adults, German kids look up to their birthdays, they get candles, a cake, and presents. They also don’t have to do any homework or chores.
When wishing someone a happy birthday in Germany, there is a strict rule that must be observed: no one should say Alles Gute Zum Geburtstag before the actual birthday. Breaking this rule is considered rude and can also bring bad luck to the celebrant.
For the customary reasons, birthday parties are never celebrated early. If your birthday is on a Monday, for example, you would have the party the following weekend if you don’t want to celebrate during the workweek.
China noodles of longevity and luna birthday calendar
Chinese system of a birthday celebration is entirely different from that of the rest of the world, from their calendar birthday system to the noodles of longevity
Unlike the western cultures you are born and then you live a year before celebrating your first birthday, this is not so in the most populous nation of the world. In China, you are born as a one year-old.
Additionally in some Chinese traditions, although this custom is less practised for now, you will have a further year added to your age on your first Lunar New Year’s Day. By the time you reach what would be considered your “first birthday” in other cultures, you could be three years old with “East Asian age reckoning”.
Also, to avoid ill-fortune or bad luck, There are some ages which are considered to be avoided, for women the main ones would be 30, 33 or 60. To avoid bad luck, a Chinese woman would remain 29 until she turned 31. Similarly, men dodge back by not acknowledging being 40.
As far as Chinese celebrations and traditions go, All birthdays need to be celebrated before or on someone’s birthday. Birthday cakes do not exist in Chinese traditions; rather, longevity noodles would be prepared for the celebrant to eat. This ritual is considered to be very important.
Nonetheless. Birthday cakes have never made ways into Chinese traditions, but most importantly a longevity noodle would be eaten. This is an unbroken egg noodle that would fill an entire bowl. It would be slurped up in one continuous strand, to not cut your life short. Other traditional birthday banquet foods would include red-dyed hard-boiled eggs (for happiness) and dumplings (for good fortune).
Birthdays take a very unusual turn in countries like Italy, Hungary, Argentina, and other countries, a similar tradition to the birthday bumps dictates that you wish a happy birthday by pulling on the earlobes of the birthday boy or girl. This is done once for each year of the person’s age
You should consider yourself lucky if you’re not from any of these countries, at least when it comes to birthday celebrations, otherwise, your ear becomes like that of a rabbit when your earlobes are pulled by hundreds of people who wish a happy birthday.
This is just a tip of the iceberg, we know there are millions of other traditional ways people celebrate birthdays in different parts of the world. We would like you to share how birthdays are celebrated in your cultures so we can keep the long list going.