Birthday Traditions Around the World

Do you have birthday traditions around your house? Would you like some? Here are some traditions for celebrating birthdays from around the world.

Canada: Nose Grease. On the Atlantic side of Canada, the birthday child sometimes gets his nose “greased” with a bit of butter to ward off bad luck.

China: Long Noodles for Longevity. One Chinese birthday tradition is to serve a plate of long, long noodles, and they should be slurped up without biting to symbolize a long life. Table manners must be ignored for this one!

England: Cutting the Cake. Children blow out the candles on their birthday cake, and then the cake is sliced and pieces are sent home with the guests, rather than eaten at the party. Now that’s smart! That way you don’t have a dozen kids in your house all going through a sugar rush at the same time.

Germany: Candles. Instead of candles on a birthday cake, Germans light candles on a wreath on a table, one candle for each year of life up until a child is 12, plus a larger “life” candle in the center of the wreath. These candles are left to burn all day long. The lucky birthday child is also exempt from homework and chores on her special day.

Holland: Put a Crown on It. In Holland, some birthdays are considered “crown years,” including 5, 10, 15, 20 and 21. These years include a special gift and, of course, a crown for the birthday child.

Ireland: Hit the Deck. Tradition demands that an Irish child be held upside down and “bumped” on the floor one time for every year of age. Ouch!

Jamaica: Just a Dusting. The birthday boy or girl in Jamaica will be coated with flour or “antiqued” by friends and family either at a party or by ambush. The mom in me is saying “please do that outside!”

Mexico: The Original Piñata Place. It’s a standard at American kids’ birthday parties, but the tradition really did start in Mexico.

Vietnam: All in One Birthdays. In Vietnam, all birthdays are celebrated on Tet, the lunar new year. A baby’s first birthday is celebrated with a big party, but after that everyone becomes a year older on the same day.