Everyone has gathered around the table. The lights are dimmed but candles illuminate the scene. Singing rings out and the person at the center of it all begins to blush. It’s birthday cake time! But you may be asking yourself, where did this tradition start? Were candles always a part of the celebration? We’re going to be diving into the history of birthday cakes and candles today. If you’re looking for a fun place to have your kid’s birthday party, check out Rebounderz Trampoline Park in Edison!
Would you believe birthday cakes have been around since the Middle Ages? It’s true! The first birthday cake is thought to have been made in Germany, where they would celebrate a child’s birthday. This celebration was known as Kinderfest, though you shouldn’t imagine this as a cake like we have today. When they first started, cakes were much more coarse and bread-like. They eventually evolved into a sweeter version closer to what we’re familiar with and took on the name of Geburtstagstorte.
It wasn’t until the 17th century that birthday cakes started to be decorated.They were made with elaborate designs and details with icing, layers, and decorations like flowers. This made cakes more expensive to make and relegated them to the wealthy upper class that could afford them. That changed with the 18th century when food and baking utensils became more accessible and affordable. That brought the price of cakes down, and the number of cakes produced increased as a result. With more people able to afford birthday cakes, the tradition spread to many more families and households than ever before.
There are a few theories about where birthday candles came from, so it’s difficult to pin down their exact origin. One such theory ties it to Ancient Greece. Round cakes would be made in honor of the goddess Artemis, who was the goddess of the moon. Lit candles decorated the cake as a representation of the moon’s glow, while the smoke from the candles carried their prayers and wishes to the Gods who lived in the sky above them. Others connect candles to the birthplace of the birthday cake, Germany. It is believed that they placed a candle on the cake to symbolize “the light of life.”
A typical modern western birthday party is now celebrated with cake, candles, and a traditional birthday song. Most often, the candles are used to represent what age the person being celebrated is turning. The candles are then blown out by the birthday boy or girl, while they make a silent wish to themselves. Just like all good wishes, it won’t come true if you tell anyone about it!
From its origin as a coarse bread to today’s elaborate designs and decorations, birthday cakes have been with us for a long time. Bakers are constantly experimenting with new recipes, techniques, and flavors to create something unique or refine a classic. So whether you like red velvet with cream cheese frosting or you’re a fan of the classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting, you’re sure to find a delicious centerpiece for your special day. When you’re looking for the perfect place to have your child’s birthday party, come to Rebounderz! No matter what age you are, we have plenty of awesome activities for you, your friends, and family to engage in. Jump around in our safe trampoline park, take a leap of faith off the 14-foot tall JumpXTREME Tower, spring into the foam pit, test your might on the Ninja Warrior course, or dunk like an All-Star on the SlamBall court. Whatever you love to do, you can do it here. We hope to see you soon!