Why We Celebrate Birthday With Cake

Why we celebrate birthday with cake

Why we celebrate birthday 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. 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.

birthday party
birthday party

The history of cake is a very long and complicated history and the origins of it 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, but they were definitely the beginning of the idea.

cartoon happy birthday celebration children
cartoon for happy birthday celebration of children

It’s surprising to hear that Ancient Romans used to celebrate different types of birthday, three different type of birthdays. First one is a private celebration among their friends and family. The second one is birthdays of cities and temples of their gods. And the last one is birthdays of past and present emperors or members of the imperial family. The Eastern Origin of Cake for the celebration of birthday has a different story. In the country China, the Chinese people made cakes and serve it to honor the seasonal cycle of the moon. And further to honor their lunar goddess Heng O.

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 the country like Russia, the Russians make thin pancakes called sun cakes for the purpose of celebrating 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 the sun cakes to warm their hearts and symbolically keep spring in their hearts forever.

friends on birthday

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.

happy birthday celebration cake
happy birthday cake

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.

happy birthday celebration
Woman blowing candles of birthday cake.

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.

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 has cakes for the 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.

Holding birthday Cake and candle
Holding birthday Cake and candle

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.

Little girl celebrating birthday

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 match the round circle cycle, all the seasons and also the beginning of a new year. A cake is also baked by some people to symbolize them as the moon or the sun. Today as the technology forge ahead, cakes can now be baked in all different shapes and sizes.

happy birthday wishes for facebook friends
happy birthday wishes for facebook friends

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. Images source : Google.com

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Why We Celebrate Birthday With Cake


Author: Rita Mahato

I am Rita Mahato, an employee in a Birthday Party Palace in Chicago, USA, who has deep knowledge about society and celebration.