5 Birthday Traditions Around the World

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Think of your last birthday party, how was it similar to the past few celebrations you had. You had the usual guests, glamorous presents, best catering in Manila, in a venue that could accommodate both. Of course, each individual has their own practices during their birthday but there are traditions you try to follow such as the birthday cake or the birthday song. This however is not the case for all countries around the world. Each culture has its own special way this annual event and it would do you well to familiarize yourself with them, maybe even get a few ideas for your next party.

Earlobes Pulling
It is a common practice in some cultures that when you pull someone’s earlobe it means you are wishing them good luck or a happy life. In Hungary, however this is a spirited practice also to wish luck for the birthday girl or boy. During the birthday party, after the opening of presents all the guests in attendance will take turns pulling the earlobe of the celebrant. All this is happening while the other guests are singing a Hungarian song that translates “God bless you, live so long so your ears reach your ankles”.

Two Birthdays in One Year
In Ecuador children are usually named after saints and in relation to this tradition children celebrate their birthday based on the saint they were named after. On their real birthday, they don’t have a party or extra presents, they get a card. They celebrate with their guests and family on the day the saint they were named after was born. Think of it as celebrating two birthdays every year.

Happy New Year or Happy Birthday?
In Vietnam whether you’re a child or an adult you celebrate your birthday not only your actual date of birth but also on ‘Tet’. This is when everyone in Vietnam celebrated their birthday at the same time and it also marks the start of the new year for them. Also, if you are a kid you get money on this day from your parents, BONUS.

In Canada, there is an old tradition that requires the celebrant’s nose to be smeared with something greasy like butter. It is a fun way to celebrate your birthday as you run around trying to pin down the celebrant and taking turns smearing greasy stuff on their nose. This of course does not come without any justification, the reason that grease  is put on the celebrant’s nose is to make sure that the celebrant is too greasy for any bad luck or negativity to cling on to them.

Crown Years
Usually some birthdays are more special than others such as turning 16, 18 or 21, in Holland they have their own important birthdays. Turning 5, 10, 15, 20 and 21, is called their crown years. During their crown years the celebrant receives bigger gifts than usual and get a special treat of lemonade and hot chocolate.
Different cultures have different ways to celebrate the day of their birth, each with an interesting twist of wishing that special someone good luck and a happy year ahead. Some you may find weird but one thing is common, this is a day to be celebrated and enjoyed with your loved ones who wants the best for you. 

*This is a guest post by Esther Diaz and is for informational purposes only.*