Family Holidays - Celebrating Birthdays in the USA

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Birthday is a special and dear family holiday for everyone. Most people in the U.S. celebrate birthdays with a wide variety of birthday traditions that include cards, parties, gifts and song. Many parties consist of a simple gathering of family members to share a cake and wish the honoree another happy year. Some can be very elaborate. Party goers could rent a hall and hire a band, engage a party bus or even purchase cruise tickets. The choice is as individual as the American spirit can make it.

Birthdays are celebrated more for the children than for the adults. At the childrens parties they have balloons and streamers are hung up and lots of friends are invited to the party. There are always presents, cakes and ice cream. The birthday person has a cake topped with candles; one for each year and they must try to blow them out in one breath. If successful their secret wish will come true. Sometimes the person having the birthday can choose what they want to do: bowling, swimming, arcades, amusement parks camping trips and so on.

The majority of American children, celebrate birthdays with a cake topped with lighted candles. Most families use the candles to represent how old a person is turning. When the cake is set before the guest of honor, he or she is supposed to make a wish, without telling anyone what it is. After making a wish, he or she tries to blow out the candles. If all the candles go out with one breath, it is believed that the wish will come true!

Family Holidays - Celebrating Birthdays in the USA

Some children receive birthday «spankings», which were originally based on superstition, but are now more of a birthday prank or a joke. Hundreds of years ago, spankings were given for each year of the birthday child's life. Beyond that number, a child received another spanking to grow on, one to live on, one to eat on, one to be happy, and yet another spanking to get married on.

At one time, it was considered back luck if the birthday celebrant was not spanked because it was believed to «soften up the body for the tomb.» Historians are unsure if the practice of swatting the birthday girl or boy was treated as a joke, as people view it today.

Singing «Happy Birthday to You» has also been a long-standing tradition on birthdays as well. The familiar song that most families sing was written in 1893 for a kindergarten in Louisville, KY. The tune was used first as a greeting for children as they arrived for the day, and the song was titled “Good Morning to All.” The writers were teachers Patty and Mildred Hill. Later the song became a famous birthday song and has been translated into several languages around the world. Nowadays it`s difficult to imagine a birthday party without singing this wonderful song.

Family Holidays - Celebrating Birthdays in the USA

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