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Candles on the cake make it more beautiful and appealing while celebrating events like birthdays.  A Birthday cake would be just like another cake if candles are not put on it. So, everyone from kids to adults loves and shows excitement to make a wish and blow out the candle before cutting the birthday cake. Birthday candles symbolize light, hope, joy and celebrations. It is the happiness of completing another year and hope that whatever you wish while blowing birthday candles will come true.  Candles being slow burners also symbolize the passage of time, as the number of birthday candles mostly represents the age of that person. 

For success in life, we need to have a high curiosity quotient. It means to seek answers to thousand of questions without expecting anything concrete in return. So to get the answer to how we blow out birthday candles, let’s go to details of the history of that tradition. How it started and what were the beliefs of different cultures related to blowing out birthday candles.

History of blowing out birthday candles

  • Though the exact origin of using candles on birthday celebrations as a ritual and tradition is still unknown, most studies suggest that it traced back to ancient Greeks a long time ago. According to history Egyptians and Romans were the first to celebrate the birthday with cake but they never put candles on the cakes. 
  • Along with myths, ancient Greek also introduced the tradition of blowing out birthday candles. Few historians claim that Greeks were the first that started putting one candle on center of a round birthday cake to make them glow like a moon. It was a special way to pay tribute or to present offerings to their goddess of moon and hunt, named Artemis. The round birthday cake symbolized the moon while the candles in the round cake gave an appearance of reflected moonlight.
  • It becomes a tradition in Germany as well where they used to lit a large candle in the center of the cake for religious purposes as it symbolizes “light of life’ in their culture. History reported the use of candles for celebration in 18th century while celebrating the birthday of German children-Kinderfast.
  • History also reports another extravagant birthday celebration of German Count Ludwig Von Zinzendorf in 1746. With the large cake as big as the size of the oven and one big candle in the center surrounded with holes to stuck candles in it according to his age.  They started the tradition of putting birthday candles according to the age of that person or even more than that to symbolize prosperity and good luck in the coming year.
  • Superstitions are common in almost all cultures and with time it becomes a tradition of that culture. It was believed that the smoke from the birthday candles helps to protect you from evil spirits
  • The tradition of making a wish before blowing candles out reflects the belief that the smoke of the candles takes all our prayers to God in heaven. Different cultures and religions used to burn candles for the offering to their gods and goddess as well to ask for health, wealth and knowledge. 
  • It was also believed that the birthday person has to make a secret wish and then blow all the candles in one breath, it means the wish would be fulfilled and will bring good luck in the coming year. On the other hand, if the person couldn’t blow all the candles at once, his wish would not be fulfilled and would have bad luck throughout the year.  Some believed that the wish you pray before blowing out birthday candles must be secret, as telling that wish to others will decrease the chances of that wish to come true. 
  • Few people claimed that everyone should surround the birthday person and celebrate to protect the birthday person from evils or bad eye. The party noise while celebrating can scare away the evil spirits. 
  • Some people used to put different colors of birthday candles to pray for the specific prayer from God. For example, pink candle is for praying for love, orange for success in business or energy and a blue candle symbolizes healing. 
  • According to one belief you have to put 3 candles on the cake symbolizing past, present and future. The person has to carefully blow out the past and present candle, the longer the future candle keep being lit, the more it will bring good luck throughout the year. 
  • Reusing of birthday candles was considered bad omen will bring the bad luck and same problems of the previous year. All birthday celebrations should have new candles and new beginnings to the coming year.

Today’s Birthday Celebrations and Candles 

Nowadays people are far away from superstitions as this is the era of science and technology. Although people of backward areas still believe in some superstitious traditions but most of us especially the young generation demand logic to acknowledge and accept a tradition.

Today people do not use birthday candles to summon Gods but they just keep following that tradition because it’s entertaining. Birthday parties are fun and should be celebrated with full of enthusiasm, fun and party. Everyone loves celebrating birthdays with friends and family, making a wish, blowing out candles, cutting the cake and getting gifts as it makes a birthday special and meaningful. 

  • Make your birthday celebration entertaining to have a good time and avoid superstitious thoughts. Although some still believe in superstitious thought but no, it’s all about science, not magic so try to focus on making fun-filled memories while celebrating your birthdays. 
  • People in the modern world put birthday candles for aesthetic value as well. Lighting up candles in birthday cakes gives hope of moving from dark to light in the coming year Birthday candles represents spark, a new spark for the new year hoping to bring happiness and joys in coming years
  • Although wishing before blowing out the birthday candles doesn’t mean that your wish will come true but praying a secret wish before blowing a candle gives you hope and much confidence that makes your birthday meaningful. 
  • Always consider every aspect of your life with an optimistic approach. Instead of thinking that one year is deducted from our destined life years try to think that you are blessed with another year to celebrate and enjoy it with our loved ones. 
  • The number of candles represents age of the person but it is recommended to use fewer candles for people having an age more than 10 to avoid any fire accident or unfortunate incident. For this purpose, 3D candles representing numbers are also in demand for kids that represents their age. 
  • Nowadays there are different multicolored candles called “Trick candles” available that relight themselves after you blow them out. Magnesium added to the wick of these candles causes them to relight after the wick smolders. 
  • Sparklers candles are trending as well as they are safe to use and produce sparks that enhance the birthday celebration by producing tons of sparkling light. They are also available in numbers from 0 to 9 so instead of adding so many candles according to age, you can simply use these sparkling number candles. 
  • Make sure you light up your birthday candles before putting them on the cake. Prefer to choose a flat surface as flames will be moving and dancing around so take precautions to avoid any unfortunate accident. 
  • Some scientific studies conducted in the USA suggested that by 1400% more bacteria result from blowing out candles on birthday cake making it hazardous for your health so avoid placing candles directly on the cake. 
  • To avoid dripping off wax or contact of candle wax with cake, use a birthday candle holder to place candles on the cake. 
  • Nowadays small Taper candles are trending because of their composition. They are made of non-toxic paraffin considered safe if by any chance drip into the frosting of the cake. 
  • So to avoid any chances of wax contamination, scientists introduce edible birthday candles as well, as the wax dripping on cake can be very dangerous. They are made up of milk and dark chocolate and the short wick is made of organic hemp. They have a fast burning wick that can burn up to 55 seconds long enough to sing a birthday song. . But you have to remove the wick and wick containing small upper part before eating the remaining chocolate candle  
  • You can also use Cheese wax candles, butter candles and orange peel candles as an alternative to birthday candles. Tutorials are available on YouTube to make DIY candles and DIY glitter birthday candles from the household items. You can paint them as well according to your theme cake to make your candles look more attractive. 

So, whatever the reason be for cutting the birthday cake with candles, whatever the belief has been, cutting a birthday cake without candles seems incomplete celebration. Although history is full of superstitious beliefs for blowing out birthday candles but now it’s just for fun, celebrations and hope. 

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