Why do we celebrate birthdays with cake? The fact nowadays is you enjoy it having it on joyful occasions, precisely your birthday. It’s more like a base of the main event of one’s life. And for sure, nothing beats a good, rich, sugary birthday cake on that special day, often decorated with a person’s name or designed to fit that person’s personality and interests.
Birthdays are special days that allow us to celebrate the day we came into our world. The birthday cake is pretty much a staple of celebrating one’s birthday in all parts of the world. Celebrating the special event in your life is something delicious, seems like a great idea and everybody loves cake.
The cake is usually decorated with candles, which the birthday person blows out after making a wish. Common cake ingredients include flour, sugar, eggs, butter, baking powder, and vanilla. In recent decades, many Western nations have adopted the custom of adding a toy to the top of the birthday cake for the child’s enjoyment.
If somebody tells you that he or she doesn’t like cake, they are either lying or they are very weird. And we all know, a birthday feast just doesn’t feel like a party without a cake…ever wonder why? Why do we celebrate with them with a cake? Let’s find it out.
Why We Celebrate Birthday With Cake
The history of cake is a very long and complicated history and its origins are not known by many people. How did all of the traditions related to cake start? Why is cake round? What were the first cakes made of?
Cakes have been discovered and recorded throughout history. To find the true ancestors of the cake as we know it, one would have to look back to before modern civilization to when people were still mostly traveling nomads. Their main source of sustenance had always been meat.
However, people could not rely on meat alone to keep them alive since that depended upon always being surrounded by animals. When farming was started man began growing many different types of produce, one of which was wheat and grains. The most primitive people in the world began making cake shortly after learning how to make flour. In fact, the remains of their cakes have been found in the ruins of Neolithic villages.
The cakes found there were extremely simple and consisted of crushed grains that were moistened, compacted, and probably cooked on a hot stone. The cakes then were closer to crackers though, than the cakes we know of now, they were definitely the beginning of the idea.
It’s surprising to hear that Ancient Romans used to celebrate different types of birthdays, three different types of birthdays. The first one is a private celebration among their friends and family. The second one is the birthdays of cities and temples of their gods. And the last one is the birthdays of past and present emperors or members of the imperial family.
The Eastern Origin of Cake for the celebration of birthdays has a different story. In the country of China, the Chinese people made cakes and serve them to honor the seasonal cycle of the moon. And further to honor their lunar goddess Heng O.
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It is fascinating that they would stamp the image of Heng O on top instead of use candles. In contemporary the Chinese people still have a culture of making moon cakes out of rice and eat them at the Harvest Moon festival every 15th of August.
Meanwhile, in a country like Russia, the Russians make thin pancakes called sun cakes to celebrate the sun by paying their respects to the deity Maslentias. Valencias was the daughter of Father Frost, who brought winter, but unlike her father, she brought warmth and happiness. Russian people would have sun cakes to warm their hearts and symbolically keep spring in their hearts forever.
The word cake is said to have been used as early as the 13th century and is derived from the word “kaka”, an old Norse word for a baked flour confection sweetened with sugar or honey.
According to food historians, the first people to show modern baking skills were the Egyptians, who started the concept of filling their bread with nuts and fruits. (The History of Birthday Cake, 1) After the Egyptians, the Greeks and Romans both started their concept of cake.
During the 8th century, Romans celebrated the birthdays of friends and family with a round, flat honey cake that was made of wheat flour, grated cheese, olive oil, and sweetened with honey.
This tradition of celebrating birthdays with cake continued for centuries, but it wasn’t until the 1400s that birthday cakes similar to the ones we enjoy today came to be. That’s when bakeries in Germany began selling one-layer cakes made from sweetened dough for children’s birthdays.
By the 17th century, birthday cakes with several layers, icing, and decorations were available. Since the ingredients were expensive, only the very wealthy could afford to buy them.
In the early 1800s, baking ingredients became more affordable, and this allowed people to begin making birthday cakes at home and celebrate a birthday with a cake. Believe me but still where does this tradition of celebrating with cake actually come from.
Well if we look up the word cake on Wikipedia we see that it is a word of Viking origin coming from the Old Norse word Kaka. Now the history of cake is a little blurry as people started baking cakes as soon as they discovered flour. And for a long time, the idea of the cake was kind of interchangeable with the idea of bread. If we see towards the western origin of birthday cakes, it’s connected with the seasonal cycle.
It is concerned with the celebration of their gods. The ancient Greek people made round-shaped or moon-shaped honey cakes. The purpose of making such cake was to take them to the temple of Artemis, the moon goddess. Some people like the ancient Celts baked Beltane cakes for the celebration of the sun.
The Celts would roll the cakes down a hill to imitate solar movement at the Beltane festival. This was to ensure the continued movement of the sun in our solar system. It is believed that the first ones to celebrate a special event with the birthday cake were the Germans.
During the kinder fest a celebration of a children’s birthday they would bake these unsweetened cakes. And we have no idea why they would celebrate the children’s birthday with a cake that’s not sweet and tasty. But as time went by they started making it sweeter and more complex adding more ingredients to the mix. And it slowly became to turn into the cake we know today. The cake was spreading all around the world.
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But there was a problem it was very expensive to make. Both ingredients of the cake and the tools needed to bake a cake were pretty much expensive. So back then not everybody could afford a cake. Only the rich and powerful have cakes for their birthdays. By the 18th century cake actually became affordable and everybody could afford the ingredients and the tools to bake a cake. This was extraordinary for everybody who loves cake.
People started remix in the recipes adding more ingredients, changing flavors trying different textures. And slowly we got to the cake we know today with tons of flavors and frostings and so on. But what about the candles on the cake why do we put candles on a cake some believe that this tradition comes from the Asian greens the Greeks would bake some cake Suhana art is the goddess of the moon.
They would put candles on their cakes and the light represented the glow of the moon and when the candles went off the smoke took their prayers up to the gods. Others believe that this tradition comes again from the Germans for which the candles represented the light of life. Now you know that it is the Germans who in the Middle Ages used sweetened dough and shaped the cake-like baby Jesus swaddled in cloth to commemorate his birth.
Over time, the tradition transitioned into commemorating the birth of young children called Kinderfest. For me, this seems stupid because why would you want to blow off the light of your life today. We celebrate birthdays with a nice sweet tasty cake with candles on it representing our age. So we either have a natural number in the form of a candle or we put candles in the number of our age and we make a wish after people finish singing happy birthday to us.
The cake we know today is not the same as it was in the 17th Century. Back in old days bread, cakes, and other similar stuff were hand-made. It was easy to give them a round shape which is still in a trend up-to-date. Basically, the shape of the cake is round.
The round structured cake is a symbol of the cycle and the law of the nature of life that is interrelated and connected which somehow matches the circle cycle, all the seasons, and also the beginning of a new year. A cake is also baked by some people to symbolize them like the moon or the sun. Today as technology forge ahead, cakes can now be baked in all different shapes and sizes.
Likewise, as the years progressed bakers and chefs alike began changing the way a cake was made. The recipe of a simple vanilla cake became, in essence, the building block for the other types of cakes.
The basic cake recipe is like the trunk and roots of a tree while the other flavors and types of cake are the branches and the leaves. Changes have not only been made to the recipe of a cake but we have changed the use of it. Nowadays cakes are used to celebrate a birthday, a wedding, and sometimes used just as a treat for people to indulge.
Reasons Why we celebrate birthday with cake
Easy Gift Cakes are the best and most convenient way to give a gift. Cakes are universally preferred, so giving one is never a bad idea. Bringing a cake along for any occasion is simple and shows a thoughtful gesture. You may get the best birthday cakes in your locality or online from the comfort of your own home.
- Various types of cakes
Traditionally, the cakes were only available in round form and a few flavors. Cakes are now available in various flavors and shapes, including heart, rectangular, and specialized with a name. Cakes are fashioned in a cartoon shape for children as well. You may get various cakes that differ in terms of ingredients, flavor, design, and color.
- Different flavor each time.
You can choose a different flavor each time you want a cake because there are many options on the market. The list goes on and on: butterscotch, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, red velvet, black forest, cherry, lemon, orange, pineapple, mango, blackberry, and so on.
- Order from Online
You may easily order a cake from any of the many internet shops that sell cakes and sweets. You do not need to purchase a cake from a store. Please choose your favorite cake from the comfort of your own home and have it delivered right to your door.
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- A Fun Way To Celebrate
Cakes are ideal for celebrating since they linger around the people until the cake-cutting ceremony is completed. The focus of the audience is drawn to the major star of the gathering. It allows people to dine, sing, and play, creating a more joyful and exciting environment.
- Enhances the delight of the occasion
While we have a specific style of party cuisine, adding a cake to the mix adds excitement and joy to the occasion, making it truly unique. As a result, the cake at the birthday celebration adds joy.
- Personalize it for a unique touch.
The cake market has seen a big trend shift, with cakes now being personalized to one’s liking. Upgraded trends make these sweet delights much more special, whether it’s a designer cake or a photo cake.
- Birthdays started as a means of protection.
The Greeks are thought to have copied the Egyptian custom of celebrating a god’s “birth.” Like many other pagan societies, they believed that days of tremendous change, such as these “birth” days, were conducive to the entrance of evil spirits. They lit candles in reaction to these spirits, almost as though they symbolized a light in the darkness. This suggests that birthday celebrations began as a kind of defense.
Friends and family would gather around the birthday person with candles and good cheers, thoughts, and wishes to safeguard them from danger. They would present gifts to spread even more joy and ward off evil spirits. Noisemakers were also used to frighten the wicked away.
The ancient Romans first celebrated the birth of the common “man.”
It appears that this is the first time in history that civilization has celebrated the birth of non-religious figures. Ordinary Roman residents celebrated the birthdays of friends and family members. The government, on the other hand, established public holidays in honor of more well-known persons.
A unique cake made with wheat flour, olive oil, grated cheese, and honey was given to every Roman who turned 50 years old. However, it is vital to emphasize that men would only experience this birthday celebration. Birthdays for women were not celebrated until the 12th century.
Cake’s Origins in the West
The origins of birthday cakes can be traced back to the seasonal cycle and the worship of gods. The ancient Greeks prepared honey cakes in the shape of a moon or a circle and brought them to the temple of Artemis, the goddess of the moon. Germans utilized sweetened dough and molded the cake to look like a baby Jesus swaddled in cloth during the Middle Ages. This cake was made to mark Jesus’ birth. Over time, the tradition transitioned into Kinderfest, a celebration of the birth of small children.
The ancient Celts cooked Beltane cakes to honor the sun. Celts would roll cakes down a hill to represent solar movement during the Beltane festival. This would assure that the sun will continue to move. Birthdays were celebrated in three ways in ancient Rome: privately among friends and family, in towns and temples dedicated to their gods, and in the birthdays of past and present emperors and members of the imperial family.
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Cake’s Origins in East
The Chinese made cakes to honor the lunar seasonal cycle and their lunar deity Heng O. They would stamp the image of Heng O on top of the candles instead. Moon cakes are still made out of rice in modern Chinese culture and eaten at the Harvest Moon festival on August 15th.
The Russians honored the sun by producing thin pancakes known as sun cakes to show their homage to the goddess Maslentias. Maslentias was the daughter of Father Frost, who brought winter, but she gave warmth and happiness, unlike her father. People would eat the sun cakes to keep their hearts warm and to keep spring alive in their hearts forever.
All those birthday candles can be attributed to the Greeks.
Greek mythology was rife with gods and goddesses. To please these gods, the Greeks gave numerous tributes and sacrifices. Artemis, the lunar goddess, was no exception. The Greeks would make moon-shaped cakes with lit candles as a tribute to the goddess, recreating the moon’s brilliant splendor and Artemis’ perceived beauty. The candles also signified the sending of a signal or a prayer. Another approach to send that message to the gods is to blow out the candles with a wish.
Everyone could now eat sugary sweets thanks to the Industrial Revolution.
For a long time, sugary cakes were a birthday treat that only the wealthy could afford. This was because the ingredients required for these sugary delights were considered a luxury. Then, during the period known as the Industrial Revolution, birthday celebrations in all cultures became commonplace. The essential ingredients became easier to come by. This, combined with advancements in mass production, allowed bakeries to offer pre-made cakes to customers at lower prices.
The song “Happy Birthday” was remixed in some ways.
In 1893, two sisters, Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill, both Kentucky schoolteachers, created a song called “Good Morning To All,” which was published in a book for other teachers. This song was written to be sung in a class by pupils before the school day began.
Of course, when anything becomes popular, there are modifications. This song is no exception. In 1924, Robert Coleman issued a songbook with this song and a few additional lines that gradually overshadowed the original lyrics. These new words to that well-known ancient tune became known as “The Birthday Song” as we know it today.
This revised version was included in an Irving Berlin musical in 1933. One of the original Hill sisters filed a lawsuit claiming ownership of the song’s copyright. They were successful in their case, and the copyright is still valid today. Some even argue that this song is protected by copyright until 2030. The copyright profits, believed to be over $2 million per year, are shared between the copyright owner and the Hill estate.