Let’s PO Evil Spirits With Cake

I don’t need any excuse to eat cake.  It’s a guilty pleasure so, when it’s my birthday, it’s game on!

But why?

Christians actually didn’t used to celebrate birthdays.  I find that quite weird considering Christmas Day, but the origins of celebrating the anniversary of those of us who are not The Son Of God is actually Pagan.  Pagan’s believed that evil spirits lurked on days of major change, such as changing from one year of life to the next.  So presumably the party was to annoy those spirits.

The Greeks had a similar line of thinking, but they believed that a spirit attended the birth of babies and that that spirit “had a mystic relation with the god on whose birthday the individual was born,” according to the book The Lore Of Birthdays.

We’ll stick with the Greeks when it comes to cake.  They would make round cakes to honour Artemis, the goddess of the moon.  They would put candles in to represent the light of the moon.  The Pagans were still convinced about evil spirits so used candles for light in the darkness.  It was the Germans that originated one candle for each year of age (and some extras for the forthcoming years) in the 1700s.

But the best thing about the candles is blowing them out to make a wish, and so – back to Greece.  Blowing out the candles creates smoke, and it’s the smoke that carries the wishes to those who can make it come true.

I like the tradition of blowing out the candles.  I’m still waiting for my wish to come true but I suppose that if the smoke carries the wish, then getting older with more candles is only going to help!

The cake tradition means something else to me because, as much as it might seem painful to share, eating a whole cake myself is a bit much.  It’s a nice way to be able to share your birthday with people even if the people at work have to open all the cakes without finishing any.  It’ll probably annoy the evil spirits.

Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday to me,
Happy birthday dear me,
Happy birthday to me.

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