Kid’s Birthday Traditions Around the World: Europe

As we talked about in a previous blog post, there are many different types of kid’s birthday parties and celebrations around the world. In certain countries in Asia, kids might receive red envelopes full of money or slurp long noodles on their birthday, instead of blowing out candles like in the United States. Today we’re traveling to another continent, covering some popular birthday celebrations that take place in European countries!

Planning a kid’s birthday party can be quite the ordeal, but Rebounderz of Rohnert Park takes the hassle away. Organize your next event with Rebounderz for a birthday that promises to be fun for everyone! Whether you’re looking to plan a kid’s birthday party, have an adult night out with the best alternative to babysitting possible, or more, Rebounderz is here for you. Find out more about kid’s birthday parties around the world, and book an event today!

Similarities in Customs

Since many immigrants to the United States came from Europe, there are equally as many similarities when it comes to celebrating a kid’s birthday party. It’s fascinating to see where some of these customs come from! For example…

  • Blowing out birthday candles is believed by many to have originated in ancient Greece. People during this era would make cakes and cover them with candles to celebrate the goddess Artemis. Another popular theory is how ancient cultures believed that smoke was a vehicle for carrying prayers to the gods. This serves as a potential explanation for why people make a wish before blowing out the candles on their birthday.
  • Serving cake on your birthday came from Germany during the Middle Ages, as well as matching the number of candles on a cake to how old you are. However, in Germany during this time, it was common practice to put an additional candle on your cake, to wish luck for having another healthy and prosperous year.

Great Britain

The traditions in England are essentially the same as the birthday celebrations in the United States, which makes sense. As the British began to colonize the United States, they brought their traditions and customs with them, which of course imparted onto societal norms today. If you’ve ever wondered where these traditions come from, it’s likely that they were brought from the colonists back in the 17th century.

Ireland

As part of the United Kingdom, kid’s birthday parties are also very similar to the United States, with one exception. Particularly for younger kids, every year on their birthday, the birthday kid is held upside down, and their head is bumped on the floor for each year they’ve been alive. An extra bump is given at the end, symbolizing good luck that they will have another great year ahead.

Germany

In Germany, it’s considered really bad luck to wish someone happy birthday before the actual day. Whereas in the United States, it’s fairly common to receive well-wishes or cards before the big day arrives, this is frowned upon in Germany. Regardless of whether it’s a kid’s birthday party or an adult’s, one thing that is unique to Germany is that the birthday tab is on the birthday person. Any festivities or drinks are not bought for the birthday person, but rather by the birthday person.

Austria

Certain parts of Austria differ from other European customs, in that they celebrate birthdays the night before. Kids would probably love getting to open up presents the night before their birthday, instead of having to wait until the actual day!

The Netherlands

There’s particular significance in the United States with certain birthdays, primarily because of the things you can do at that age. For example, turning 16 indicates you can legally drive, 18 means you can vote, and turning 10 is simply exciting because you’re in the double digits. In the Netherlands, special years happen at the ages of five, 10, 15, 20, and 21, and these are called the Crown Years. Kid’s birthday parties on Crown Years are marked with even bigger presents than normal.

Russia

The celebrations are overall pretty similar to the United States, with a few exceptions. For example, Russians encourage paying attention to dreams that occur the night before your birthday—they are believed to serve as some kind of foretelling of the future. Additionally, many families actually put presents up on the clothesline, and the birthday kids have to go and reach them. As one standard that seemingly exists in several cultures, a kid’s birthday party would not be complete without the birthday kid getting their ears pulled for the number of years completed.

Greece

Kid’s birthday parties are pretty typical in Greece, and are mostly the same as birthday parties in the United States. However, name day celebrations are of equal importance, and last far into adulthood. Many (if not most) Greeks are named after a saint. Each saint is celebrated by a church on a specific day, and on the day of your saint’s celebration, you get to celebrate as well. People will visit kids and adults alike on their name day and give small gifts and well wishes.

In many other Catholic countries, such as Poland, name days are also celebrated with added zest and vigor. This has transferred to the United States as well for those practicing the Catholic faith within this country.

Spain

One of the biggest traditions in terms of kid’s birthday parties originated in Spain, and that takes the form of the quinceñera. When a girl turns 15, this marks her entrance into adulthood, and is a huge ordeal. Usually at a rented out space, family and friends alike are invited to celebrate this coming-of-age event. Girls wear elaborate dresses, and the ceremony usually goes from a church ceremony to a party where food, music, and dancing take place for hours on end. This celebration transferred over to many Spanish-speaking countries, as it was brought over by Spanish colonists in the mid-20th century.

Sweden

Less the case for kid’s birthday parties, but as the youngsters get older, Sweden is known for having speeches after speeches at their birthday parties. Birthdays are practically galas in many instances, with elaborate dishes served and enjoyed, and massive venues rented out as more significant birthdays take place.

Bonus Country: Australia

Alright, so Australia is definitely not in Europe, but it was colonized by the Brits as well, and they have very similar influences to the United States. However, they do something even more special for a kid’s birthday in the form of fairy bread. To celebrate a kid’s birthday, kids get to consume a slice of bread with butter or margarine on it, which is then slathered in sprinkles. It’s safe to say any country would love this as a birthday tradition.

There are many similarities between European countries and the United States in the manner in which we throw kid’s birthday parties. One thing that sets many countries apart, however, is that they don’t live near Rohnert Park, and they can’t celebrate at Rebounderz. You on the other hand get a chance to host the kid’s birthday party of the year by booking with Rebounderz. For boundless fun and entertainment, book some jump time and a fabulous kid’s birthday party today!