BIRTHDAY SALE: Birthday traditions around the world

November 12th, 2012

Company News Humour

Its Appliances Online’s birthday, and we’re taking the opportunity to look at how this annual celebration is recognised around the world.

From the type of food eaten to the presents given, not everyone celebrates birthdays in the same way.


While most of us dread the thought of more and more candles appearing on our birthday cakes annually, have you ever stopped to think about why we use them in the first place?

Many believe that the tradition dates right back to the Ancient Greeks, who baked round cakes to represent the moon and placed a lit candle in the centre to signify the moonlight or the light of life before offering the cake up to Artemis, the Goddess of Moon.

The idea of communicating with the gods through burning candles and smoke continued right through Europe, but these days we use them to make a wish for the coming year before extinguishing the flames.


Those living in Korea used to not even wait until a child’s first birthday to celebrate. Family members used to mark the 100th day of their son or daughter’s life – known as Baek-il – by worshipping the birth goddess Samshin before enjoying sweetened red and black bean rice cakes. It was also believed that the more rice cakes that were shared, the longer and more prosperous the child’s life would be.

Upon the child’s first birthday, he or she is dressed in special colourful clothes and sat at a large table in front of the extended family for a celebration known as Tol. A bowl of rice and other various dishes are placed on the table, as well as a range of objects, including a pencil, a piece of thread, scissors and money. The baby picks up various items, each representing a different aspect of the child’s future.

Birthday bumps and punches instead of presents?

In some parts of the world, the annual celebration isn’t necessarily associated with gifts and well wishes.

A popular tradition in the UK and India is to torment the birthday boy or girl with “bumps” – an act where they are taken by their arms and legs and lifted up into the air in accordance with their age, plus one for good luck.

In some parts of French Canada such as Quebec, the birthday boy or girl receives the punches in a similar fashion, and in Brazil and Argentina they have their earlobes pulled.

Perhaps most strangely of all, children in Ireland are sometimes lifted upside down and their head is lightly tapped on the floor.

Thankfully the only crazy thing Appliances Online has planned for its birthday is a huge sale. All categories are discounted and we’re celebrating right up until November 19. Check out the website for all of the bargains!

All the way from the land of the flightless bird, Krissy brings a part of New Zealand culture to the Appliances Online content team. And although she is adamant she does not say 'fush and chups', she can't deny her continuous use of the term 'sweet as' and her ongoing argument with her team on the correct name for jandals (thongs). One thing is for certain, however, her passion for her kiwi slang is matched with her love for sharing news, hacks and buying tips for all things appliances! Krissy's favourite appliance is the Tefal Cook4Me multi cooker, as she believes it's ok to let an appliance do all the work for you.

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