This weekend my adorable niece turns two-years-old. Needing some creative stimulants to help select her birthday gift, I decided to research birthday traditions around the globe for some inspiration. The trouble was that I found plenty of traditions but very few images. And since I’m a visual person, I thought it might be nice see the traditions in addition to just reading abut them. Some of these were not easy to find, but here are 11 different global birthday traditions to try out:
Earlobe Tugs. Children receive a pull on their earlobe for each year.
Noodles for Lunch. Friends and relatives are invited to lunch; noodles are served to wish the child a long life. In addition, the child receives money from both parents.
Flying Flags. A flag is flown outside a window to designate that someone inside is enjoying a birthday. Presents are placed around children’s beds while sleeping.
Pink Dresses. When a girl turns 15, there’s a great celebration. She puts on a pink dress and her first pair of high heels and dances the waltz with her father. Fourteen girls and fourteen boys pair up and dance the waltz alongside them.
Fortune Telling Cakes. Certain symbolic objects are mixed into the birthday cake as it’s being prepared. If you uncover a coin in your cake, it’s foretelling of future riches.
Crown Years. Even (2, 4, 6, etc.) birthday years are called “crown years.” The child receives an especially large gift on the special crown year birthdays. In addition, the family decorates the child’s chair with flowers.
Birthday Bumps. The birthday child is lifted upside down and “bumped” on the floor for good luck. The child receives a bump for every year—and one extra for good luck.
Chair Raising. The child sits in a chair while the family raises and lowers it, corresponding to the child’s age, with one extra for good luck.
Pinatas and Mass. A pinata is filled with goodies and hung from the ceiling. While blindfolded, children take turns hitting it until it’s cracked open. Also, when a girl turns 15 in Mexico, a special mass is held to honor her.
Cakes and Noodles. Birthday cakes are baked in various shapes and sizes. The celebration includes noodles — representing a long life — balloon decorations, and pinatas.
Birthday Pies. Instead of a birthday cake, the child receives a birthday pie with a birthday greeting carved into the crust.
What other birthday traditions did I miss?
This post is adapted from FTD’s website.