Lighting Candles, Cutting Cakes and Making a Wish
Have you ever wondered how the tradition of ‘putting candles on cakes and blowing them out’ came about? Even though historians have not been able to narrow down on a specific answer, they have been able to come up with interesting points and theories. Following are some of these theories regarding the how birthday cakes came into existence as well as the origin of candles and wishes.
The tradition of celebrating birth:
The Egyptians seem to have started this tradition. It was considered that Egyptian pharaohs transformed into gods when they were crowned as kings and rulers. And it was this moment that was celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm. So even though familial connects were of value, it was this event of being crowned as a king or queen and not just being born, that was celebrated as a momentous occasion.
Candles on cakes:
There is a lot of debate about who first celebrated birthdays, in general. As far as the concept on putting candles on cakes is concerned, most people agree that it was the Greeks who first introduced this idea.
In ancient Greece, people made cakes in the shape of the moon to offer it Artemis: the Moon Goddess. These very people lit candles and put them on the cakes that they offered so as to recreate the brilliant glow of the moon.
Inclusion of commoners in birthday celebrations:
In ancient Egypt as well as ancient Greece, it was the gods and kings (and not the common man) who were the ones that got to celebrate birthdays.
Eventually, it was the Romans who added the common people to the list of entities who could celebrate their birthdays. Not just this, to make up for the fact that mere mortals were not included in birthday celebrations earlier, public holidays were created by the Romans to honour the dates of birth of famous and eminent people.
The mean life expectancy in those days is believed to be 35 years and almost half of all roman children did not make it past the age of 10 years. If anyone lived to reach their 50th birthday, then it meant that they were extremely lucky indeed! On account of reaching this milestone, this person would receive a special cake made up of honey, olive oil, different types of cheese and wheat flour.
From the kings and Gods to children:
The modern, present-day idea of the birthday cake can be attributed to the Germans of the eighteenth century. This is because it is relatively easy to verify some things as one moves closer to the current time period. The Germans celebrated kinderfeste which was a party for children and the birthday cake was a complementary addition to that. This cake was baked for the birthday child and he got it along with one candle for each year that he/ she had been alive as well as an extra candle that symbolised the hope and wish to live another healthy and happy year.
Blowing out the candles and making a wish:
It was believed by the ancient Greeks that the smoke that rose up from the blown out candles carried wishes and prayers to the gods. This is why people would make wishes just while blowing out the candles on the cakes that were offered to Artemis: the Moon Goddess. This is where the practice of making a wish at the time of blowing out candles on birthday cakes originated from.
If there is one thing that we can all reach agreement on is that we are grateful to whoever that came up with this amazing tradition of making a wish while blowing out small candles that are put on the birthday cake and then ultimately digging into layers of deliciousness!
Every birthday is a cause to celebrate and what better way to rejoice than with a wonderful and tasty cake offered by 12 O’Cake. We are sure you will find the perfect cake for that special birthday celebration among the wide variety that we offer.