20 Birthday Tradition around the world

20 Birthday Tradition around the world

A birthday is one of the most cherished days of the year for any soul, regardless of their age, likes, dislikes, etc. And why not? There is so much to love about this day. The candles, lights, balloons, birthday gifts and wishes from your near and dear ones that make you feel like you are on cloud nine.

While celebrating another magical year of life is commonplace throughout the world. Sending greeting cards, giving gifts, eating birthday cake, and saying happy birthday are all in celebration of another year in a person’s life.

Different nations — different customs! In every country people have different traditions on how to celebrate birthdays. Birthdays are celebrated often with parties and gifts and in most parts of the world, it is celebrated in the same ways. Cutting cake and blowing candles is a common tradition in United States while slurping long noodles is in China. Though the celebration process may differ but the sentiments and reasons behind the celebrations and gifting traditions remain the same.

Australian Birthday Traditions

Australia Birthday Bread

In Australia birthday cakes are not used in place they use a sweet bread called “fairy bread”. It is slice of white bread covered with butter and sprinkles. It’s an unbeatable combination of buttered bread and tiny Hundreds-and-Thousands (sprinkles is a more common term in America).

African Birthday Traditions

In various African countries they celebrated initiation ceremonies for kids instead of birthdays. When they reach a certain age they learn the laws, beliefs, customs, songs and dances of their tribes. In South Africa, birthday celebrants who have turned 21 are given a key, which symbolizes that they are now responsible adults.

Brazil Birthday Tradition

In Brazil, homes are decorated with brightly colored paper flowers and the family members pull the earlobes of the birthday boy/girl as many times as needed to represent each year being celebrated.

Suggested Read: Origin of Birthday Traditions

Canada Birthday Traditions

Canadians traditionally serve up homemade birthday cakes decorated with color sprinkles. Often there is a wrapped coin to be found between the layers of the cake, and the person who finds it first is traditionally the one who is first to try all the party games. Colourful party crackers are laid on for the children. They pop when you pull the strip, and inside there is a small prize, your fortune or a hat.

In Canada, especially on the Atlantic side, it is a common practice to sneakily grease the birthday boy/girl’s nose with butter. By doing so, the greased nose will make the person too slippery for bad luck. The amount of butter even increases as you get older!

Chinese Birthday Traditions

Chinese Birthday Noodles

In the West and most of the world, a child turns one on the first anniversary of his/her birth whereas In China age is calculated according to the lunar calendar without counting zero which means when a child born his /her age is automatically considered as one. Chinese celebrate their birthday either before date or on actual birth date. In China eating a bowl of longevity noodles is compulsory, and the cake is not compulsory. Red dyed hard-boiled eggs and dumplings are also included in the birthday banquet as the symbol of happiness and good fortune.

Denmark Birthday Traditions

In Denmark, presents are placed around the child’s bed while they are sleeping, making a nice surprise when they wake up. A flag is also flown outside a window to signify that someone in that house is having a birthday.

Ghana Birthday Tradition

Ghanaian children wake up to a special treat called “oto.” It’s a fried patty made from mashed sweet potatoes and eggs. In the evenings, they have a family gathering where everyone eats a meaty stew with rice and pieces of fried plantains.

Indian Birthday Traditions

A child’s first birthday is very important to the Hindus. It is a tradition to pass out chocolates to classmates. In some rural regions in India, a child gets his/her first haircut after turning three. Birthday is a day to go to the temple and taking blessing of God and elders by touching their feet. Wearing new dress and good sumptuous food at home. May be some of them are make big pooja in that day and serve food and cloth to the poor persons. In this way, one gets lots of blessings for a long, happy and prosperous life.

In India and possibly elsewhere, the practice of birthday bumps is pretty common – where your friends grab your arms and legs and lift you up and down corresponding to the number of years of your age.

Italy Birthday Tradition

While the literal translation of Happy Birthday is Buon Compleanno, most people say Auguri or Tanti Auguri which translates to “best wishes.” Or you could say “tanti auguri di compleanno” which translates to English as “many best wishes for your birthday.” In Italy, you are expected to open your presents immediately in front of the people who gave them to you. It’s considered rude to just put the packages to the side.

Ireland Birthday Tradition

They are loving people who also like celebrating birthdays to show their love for their loved ones. When anyone has a birthday, that child is raised up by his friends and relatives so he or she can be lifted upside down and can be bumped lightly. The number of bumps is the same as that of his age; an extra bump to show the good luck for the child is also given.

Suggested Read: 10 Best Birthday Gifts Ideas

Japan Birthday Tradition

In Japan, the 3rd, 5th and 7th (shichi-go-san in Japanese for 7-5-3) are by far the most significant ages of a child. Japan has a festival for that called Shichi-Go-San held every 15th day in November when families take their children to a shrine to give thanks to God and wish for their continued good health and long life. Children of these ages are dressed in Kimono and taken to shrines to pray for health and well-being.

Jamaica Birthday Tradition

Jamaicans must have an awfully good sense of humor, it’s the only thing that explains why their birthday tradition is taking turns throwing handfuls of flour at the birthday child. It’s all in good fun!

Korean Birthday Tradition

The Korean birthday is called eumnyeok saeng-il, a communal affair that highlights the country’s emphasis on collectivity. Traditional celebrations commemorate ancestral spirits who are given food as an offering. Juniors offer sebae, a deep formal bow, to their seniors. In return, they are given gifts and money considered to bring good fortune. Families spend the rest of the day eating, playing games and storytelling. Mi-yeok-guk a hearty seaweed soup, is usually served as part of breakfast for the beloved birthday boys and girls in Korea.

Mexico Birthday Tradition

Mexican Pinata

The Mexican piñata tradition is so much fun that tons of Americans have adopted it too! Having a piñata at every kids birthday party is an absolute must in Mexico. They usually come in the form of an animal or object, and are made from colorful paper mache. After being stuffed full of goodies, pinatas hang from a tree branch while the birthday child and their guests all take turns hitting it while blindfolded until all the goodies spill out!

New Zealand Birthday Tradition

After the candles are blown out on the birthday cake, the birthday person receives a clap for every year they are old.

Peru Birthday Tradition

There are two traditional souvenirs at a Peruvian birthday party. Named “recordatorio”, they typically come in the form of a goody box or a pin made in honor of the event. It is also common at these parties for children to receive fancy paper hats.

Russia Birthday Tradition

Children in Russia don’t typically have birthday cakes, instead they receive traditional birthday pies that come with a nice birthday greeting carved into the crust! Birthday parties usually involve a mishmash of different activities and games. A clothesline is normally featured at parties, with many different prizes hanging down from the line for the winners of the games to take home with them.

United States of America Birthday Traditions

United States of America Birthday Tradition

The standard American kids’ birthday party goes something like this: host party at your house/restaurant/event center, guests bring wrapped present for your kid, you provide food (including frosted and decorated cake) for guests, guests sing off-key version of ‘Happy Birthday’ after which your child blows out candles on cake and rips into gifts, guests get a goody bag.

Cakes have candles representing the age of the person and an extra for good luck. When candles are lit people sing happy birthday song and the person makes a wish before blowing the candles. It is believed if the candles blow off in one breath than the wish will come true. In the United States, people will either pinch or punch the birthday children.

United Kingdom Birthday Traditions

British birthday traditions are similar to those in America, with lots of birthday cake served at parties. However, in England, it is common to place coins inside someone’s birthday cake as a symbol of wealth for the future.

Vietnamese Birthday Tradition

A traditional birthday present in Vietnam is a red envelope that contains “li xi” (lucky money) given by parents, close friends and relatives. When giving a gift, it is best to avoid black which is considered to be a symbol of death.

Happy Birthday Wishes For Friends And Family

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Simmi Kamboj

Simmi Kamboj is the Founder and Administrator of Ritiriwaz, your one-stop guide to Indian Culture and Tradition. She had a passion for writing about India's lifestyle, culture, tradition, travel, and is trying to cover all Indian Cultural aspects of Daily Life.