When the topic ‘birthday’ comes, what pictures conjure up in your imagination?  Well, we are sure it would not be any different from a room decked up in attractiveness, a corner brimming with joy and a table in the center clenching with high pride a succulent cake with brightly colored candles waiting impatiently to be burnt and blown out.

Have you ever wondered why we stick candles into a perfectly baked mouthwatering cake and set them to fire? Well, no one would like to blemish the moist layer of frosting by digging candles into the cake if it wasn’t for a well-founded and historically established reason. 

  • Like the long and fascinating birthday cake history, birthday candles have their tale to tell. And, this time to we’ve got the Greek souls to thank. One theory of putting candles on a birthday cake dates back to Ancient Greeks, who used to adorn moon-honey shape cake with blazing candles to honor the Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon. The candles lit were symbolic of the belief that the smoke from the candles carried prayers and wishes to Gods and Angels. 
  • According to German traditions, the first evidence of  embellishing a birthday cake with candles was seen at a lavish birthday celebration in which a large cake was seen holding small candles all around, and a large candle was placed in the middle signifying the “light of the life.” 
  • Many western traditions believe that speaking of a wish in one’s mind, and then blowing out the candles in one breath makes the wish come true. 
  • The pagan origin of birthday candles states that it holds power. And, is set to glow to ward of evil spirits. Not only this, Pagan people made noises to scare away the evil spirits to carouse in merrymaking. 
  • The Swiss followed the ritual of burning candles which correspond to each year of life and to be blown out by the girl or boy being celebrated. 
  • Lastly, our motherland, India also embraces a birthday candle ritual in which one extra candle in addition to the candles corresponding the age of the person whose birthday is being celebrated is lit and one last candle is left fiery. Later, it is placed glowing in a room or in front of God idol to seek blessings. 

Keeping the age-old tradition alive, till date people have been celebrating birthdays with the ritual of burning and blowing birthday candles, thereby summoning God and for various beliefs. However, each house has its birthday tradition. What’s yours?