Cake. Ice cream. Candles. Presents. All of these items together in one place can mean only one thing—a birthday!
When I was 3 years old my family threw a huge birthday party for me. Tons of friends and family members flocked to my house. A real live clown was supposed to come too, but at the last minute a magician came instead. The only memory I have of my party was when the magician made a bird appear out of a hat, and the bird left droppings on our living room floor!
No matter how old you get, birthdays are always special because they celebrate the day you came into this world!
Parties Around the World
Many years ago, European kings were the only people who had birthday parties. (They were considered the only people important enough to be remembered on their birthdays.) Later on, birthday celebrations became more common among other people.
The first children’s birthday parties took place in Germany. They were called “Kinderfest,” which means “children’s party.” But now kids all over the world celebrate their birthdays! Here’s how some of them do it:
Children in Australia celebrate their birthdays by eating “Fairy Bread”—tasty buttered bread covered with colorful sprinkles.
In Brazil, people wish someone a happy birthday (“Feliz Aniversário!”) by pulling his or her earlobes once for every year of age. (Their ears must get pretty sore by the end of the day!)
When a baby turns one year old in China, family members gather together and place items like coins, pens, and books on the floor. Tradition says that the first item the baby picks up tells what he or she will be as an adult. For example, if the child picks up a book, he might become an author. If another child picks up a coin, she might become a rich person!
Families in Denmark tiptoe into the birthday child’s room while the child is sleeping to surround his or her bed with gifts. What an exciting way to start a birthday!
Ever heard of a piñata (peen-YA-ta)? This fun birthday tradition began in Mexico. Families buy or make a piñata out of papier-maché and fill it with candy. Children are blindfolded and take turns hitting the piñata with a bat or stick until the candy spills out—then everyone makes a dash to grab as much candy as possible!
In Nigeria, 1, 5, 10, and 15 are considered extra-special birthdays. Those birthday parties are huge—sometimes as many as 100 people attend! Some Nigerians celebrate these milestone birthdays by roasting an entire cow or goat!
Traditionally, people in Vietnam have celebrated their birthdays at the same time! That’s during Tet, their New Year’s holiday. Children are given “lucky money” in red envelopes.
So Many Birthdays!
Check out this incredible list of the longest-living organisms!
The Antarctic sponge grows very slowly in the chilly waters of the Antarctic Ocean. One sponge has been estimated to be around 1,550 years old!
Tortoises are some of the longest-living reptiles around. A Galapagos tortoise named Harriet lived to be 175 years old before she died in 2006.
Parrots have also been known to have many birthdays. One blue-and-yellow macaw lived to be 110 years old!
The oldest person in the Bible, Methuselah, lived to be 969 years old! (See Genesis 5:27.)
According to historic birth records, the oldest person born after Bible times was a woman named Jeanne Calment of France. She lived to be 122 years old.
—information gathered from Wikipedia.org
Though it’s great to remember the day we were born, we can also celebrate being born into God’s family. Let’s rewind time to about 2,000 years ago. Jesus was talking to a Pharisee (a Pharisee was kind of like a Bible teacher) named Nicodemus. Jesus told Nicodemus that “no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again” (John 3:3).
Nicodemus was pretty confused! How can someone be born a second time if they’ve already been born? But Jesus wasn’t talking about a physical birthday. He meant a spiritual one! When we believe in Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit makes us new—almost as if we’ve been born again!
The next time your birthday rolls around, thank God for another year of life and for the eternal life that you have through Jesus!
No-Bake Birthday Cake
Try making this yummy no-bake ice cream cake with a cookie crust for your next birthday celebration!
What you’ll need:
- 1 half-gallon of ice cream—you pick the flavor!
- 1 package of chocolate chip cookies, Oreos, or vanilla wafers (depending on your choice of ice cream)
- ½ cup melted butter
What to do:
Take the ice cream out of the freezer and let it soften in the refrigerator while you make a cookie “crust.”
Crush the cookies into tiny pieces by putting them in a large zip-loc bag and pounding them with something heavy like a rolling pin.
Pour the cookie crumbs into a large bowl. Take out about half a cup of cookie crumbs and set them aside for later.
Pour the melted butter onto the cookie crumbs in the large bowl and mix together.
Spoon the cookie mixture into a 9 x 13 pan and use your hands to flatten the cookie mixture on the bottom of the pan.
Spoon the softened ice cream onto the cookie crust and spread it evenly in the pan. Sprinkle the rest of the cookie crumbs on top of the “cake.”
Cover the pan and put the cake in the freezer overnight.
Take the cake out of the freezer 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
Spanish: Feliz cumpleaños! (Feh-LEES coom-pleh-ahn-yos.)
Dutch: Hartelijk gefeliciteerd met je verjaardag!
(HART-a-lik ghe-FAY-lis-ih-TAIRD mett yeh fer-YAR-dagh)
French: Joyeux Anniversaire! (Zhwah-yeh ah-knee-ver-sair!)
Korean: Saeng il chuk ha ham ni da!
About the Author
Christin Baker is a full-time stay-at-home mom who also writes for Faith Alive. She is a member of Resurrection Fellowship Church in Grand Rapids, Mich.