What Were Kid’s Birthday Parties Like in the Past?

If you’ve been to a few kid’s birthday parties, then you generally know what they are like. Cake, some games, and a few presents are pretty much the standard when it comes to today’s birthdays. But that wasn’t always the case! Birthday parties looked a lot different back in history. You might be surprised to learn just how we started celebrating birthdays and what those celebrations used to be like.

You Might Not Have Had a Birthday a Thousand Years Ago!

People didn’t always celebrate their birthday. In fact, the kid’s birthday party that we know and love today is a relatively new invention. But there are records of birthday parties happening all the way back in the time of the ancient Egyptians and Greeks. They weren’t celebrating their own birthdays, though. They celebrated the birthdays of their gods and goddesses, usually with festivals and parties each year. It wasn’t until the rise of the Roman empire that regular humans started to mark the day of their birth with a party, but at first, it was only the men of the household who did so. Women and kids didn’t celebrate their birthdays until much, much later.

By the medieval ages, though, children were celebrating their birthdays. They might have put on their better clothing and had a special meal with family and friends, perhaps even receiving a few gifts if they were from a wealthier family. Birthdays really took off in the Victorian era, which was from about the 1830’s to the start of the 20th Century. During this time, wealthy families threw extravagant birthdays for their children, complete with a ball, cake, and lots of gifts. These big birthday parties were exclusive to wealthy families only, though, because they had to be arranged by a mother and all of the household staff and cost a small fortune. It was a symbol of the family’s wealth and importance, though, and less about the happiness of the child!

Birthdays started to look more like what we know today after the Victorian era. By the 1920’s, birthday parties were much smaller due in large part to the Great Depression. Families had to cut back out of necessity but sometimes could enjoy the treat of attending a movie with their friends for their birthday. But after World War II, birthday parties became almost exactly what we know today. They involved lots of cake, presents, and a group of children about the same age all celebrating the birthday boy or girl. Mothers were expected to arrange the parties, decorate, and bake the cake, but as more of them went back to work in the later decades, they outsourced a lot of this work to professionals like Rebounderz!

Where Did These Birthday Traditions Come From?

The Cake

Romans celebrated men’s birthdays with a cake that had honey and cheese in it. The Germans used a nut and fruit cake to celebrate birthdays in the 1800’s, and the trend quickly moved across Europe. The traditional two-layer, frosted birthday cake appeared at birthday parties starting in the 1840’s when more people had ovens in their homes. Those birthday candles on your cake can be traced all the way back to the ancient Greeks, though, when they would use candles to celebrate the birthdays of the gods and goddesses.

The Song

It’s not a birthday until you hear “Happy Birthday to You” sung! It’s called the most recognized song in the English language, and it’s been around for at least 100 years. The story goes that two schoolteacher sisters made up the song for their students to sing, but never copyrighted the lyrics or the music until a company copyrighted it in 1935. But there have been numerous lawsuits over the years as to the copyright of the song and who actually owns the rights. Don’t worry, though; it’s generally agreed that as long as it’s your friends and family singing it to you, you aren’t in violation of any copyright laws (and you aren’t likely to be sued for singing it whenever you like, either).

The Presents

Presents have long been a part of birthdays, clear back when the ancient Egyptians and Greeks brought presents and tributes to their gods and goddesses on their birthdays. In the Victorian era, it was a tradition for adults to bring gifts to the child being celebrated, but it was also a tradition that the child would give gifts to their household staff. Today, it’s tradition to bring a gift to the birthday boy or girl unless otherwise directed on the invitation.

Today We’re Making Birthday Parties Better Than Ever

Would you enjoy having a big Victorian ball thrown in your honor for your birthday? Or eating honey and cheese cake with the Romans? Or attending a movie during the Depression? These kid’s birthday parties might be an educational experience, but having your birthday party at Rebounderz is going to be a lot more fun. We take the stress out of planning a party by doing it all for you! We’ll make sure you have the cake, the food, and the fun. You just need to bring the birthday boy or girl and invite the guests! Today’s birthday parties are more fun than ever thanks in part to our indoor trampoline park. Head over to our website to learn more about our birthday party packages and find the one that’s right for your next big event! Get in touch with our team and we’ll book your birthday party and make sure that everything is ready for you and your guests to have the best birthday party in history!