As a kid, there was no better day than your birthday. You got to bring cupcakes to your class at school; there were balloons and presents, and maybe even a bounce house to jump in. Birthday celebrations are a good time to let loose and kick off another year, whether that’s with cake, a party, or just having a good old-fashioned “me day” on the couch.
While birthday cake, balloons, and other more Western traditions are popularized in a lot of places, different cultures have different birthday celebrations and traditions. Everyone celebrates a little differently! Check out some of these unique international birthdays from around the world.
Traditionally, birthday celebrations in China are reserved for the elderly or babies, as it’s a more special time to be celebrating another year. Everyone enjoys a nice slice of birthday cake, but a traditional Chinese celebration would start with you and your family eating longevity noodles. A longevity noodle is one, really long noodle that would fill the bowl on its own. The long noodle symbolizes a long and prosperous life!
Children in Germany have it good- on your birthday you can’t do chores and you can’t have homework. No homework would almost be a birthday party in itself! As you get older, you are in charge of your own birthday party. That means if you invite your friends out for dinner you traditionally pay the tab. In some parts of Germany, you really have to get down and dirty and work on your birthday. Men who turn 30 and are still unmarried have to sweep the steps of the city hall on their birthday.
On your birthday in Russia, you bring birthday treats into your classroom and sometimes your classmates and teacher bring you homemade gifts. Some people eat birthday cake, but birthday pie is also common in Russia. Sometimes in the US, you get a spank on the butt for each year on your birthday, but in Russia, they do something a little differently. On your birthday, someone would tug on your ear for each year you’ve made it through.
There’s getting a light spank for each year, there’s pulling on ears for each year, but in Ireland, they turn this tradition upside down- literally! On your birthday someone flips you upside down and lightly bumps the top of your head for each year, plus one for good luck. This birthday celebration is called “bump to grow an inch.” If you make it safely through 21 years of that, you get a set of keys on your birthday, which symbolize unlocking the door to your future as an adult.
Traditionally in Vietnamese culture, everyone celebrates their birthday on the same day, or Tet. Tet is the first day of the year and the day to celebrate birthdays. Infants turn one on Tet, no matter how close to the day of Tet the child was born. You differentiate by acknowledging the symbol of the lunar calendar the year you were born (for example, someone born in 2018 is born the year of the dog.) Parents give their kids “lucky money” or “li xi” in a red envelope in the morning. Sounds like a fun-filled birthday celebration for everyone!
Pinatas are a popular Mexican birthday celebration. They symbolize joy and happiness so they come in bright colors, fun shapes, and are filled with candies and treats. On a girls 15th birthday, or her Quinceanera, the birthday celebrations are grand and formal. Everyone dresses up, feasts, and dances to celebrates the birthday girl’s new found womanhood. No matter what year you’re celebrating in Mexico, you celebrate with family, friends, food, and a great party.
No matter how you choose to celebrate your birthday, a planned soiree or a surprise adventure, the best way is to celebrate with friends and family. And of course, if you have a loved one celebrating their birthday, there’s no better way to brighten their day than with fresh flower delivery! And don’t worry if you’ve forgotten a special birthday, we also have tips on how to make it better!Shop All