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Pandemic Birthday Celebrations

Some little-known facts about birthdays

Birthdays weren’t acknowledged until calendars were created. There had been no easy way to track time, apart from the moon’s cycles and seasons.

Birthdays were first mentioned in around 3,000 B.C.E. and the first one was Pharaoh’s birthday.

The first birthday cakes were made by the Greeks. They were moon-shaped and had candles to create the glowing radiance of the moon and the god, Artemis’ beauty, who they were made in honour of. Blowing out candles with a wish was a way of sending a message or prayer to the gods.

The first birthdays celebrated by pagans were seen as a form of protection against evil spirits. Family and friends would surround the birthday person with good cheers, wishes and thoughts. Giving gifts was to bring more good cheers to ward off evil spirits.

Birthdays of common people, i.e. non-religious souls, were not celebrated until the ancient Romans came along. Any man turning 50 would receive a birthday cake and a celebration, however women did not receive the same treatment. Women’s birthdays were not acknowledged until about the 12th century. Some of us wish they still weren’t!

Christians didn’t acknowledge birthdays as a positive event until the 4th century when Jesus Christ’s birthday was first celebrated (now known as Christmas).

The birthday cakes we know today were first created by German bakers around the late 18th century. This is when children were first given a party. Traditionally their cakes would have one candle for each year they had lived plus one extra one for the hope of living at least another year.

With the Industrial Revolution sugary cakes became more widely accessible as the ingredients were easily available (and more affordable) to the masses.

The Happy Birthday song was originally called ‘Good Morning to All’ and was written in 1893 by two sisters who were teachers. This was sung at the start of class each morning. It morphed into the tune we know today in 1924. In 1933 it was used in an Irving Berlin musical and the sisters who wrote the original version sued for copyright and won. The copyright still holds today.


Ways to celebrate a birthday in lockdown

Create a virtual birthday party. An English friend stuck in NZ had a Zoom birthday party involving four bubbles in two countries. Each bubble baked a cake and every family member had to recite a poem, nursery rhyme or limerick. Great if you have a talented family who aren’t camera-shy. Consider dressing up in a theme or just dressing up – will make it feel that much more special.

In the absence of gifts consider gifting your time. This could be anything that you wouldn’t normally do for the birthday person from cooking a meal to weeding a garden or washing their car. Create a voucher for the gift if it doesn’t have to happen on the day, but you might want to add an expiry date.

Put a call out to the birthday person’s friends on social media or in a bulk email and ask them to make contact with the birthday person on the day. If they all rang on the phone you wouldn’t have to do much else to celebrate as there wouldn’t be time.

If you have a particular talent consider using it for the birthday person. A family member had a song composed and sung to her on social media – it helped that the singer was a professional musician! If you sew maybe you can repurpose something into a face mask.

Make a birthday card. Be creative and resourceful if you don’t have the materials you need for this. Remember it’s the thought that counts and the nice words you write inside.

Recycle something you have that they want or need. It used to be frowned upon to ‘second gift’ something, but now it’s considered as a very sustainable option. Just ensure it’s something they want or need – don’t off-load your rubbish on them.

Do something special with them. I don’t think picnics have been banned yet, or star gazing. Or maybe just play a board game, do a jigsaw together or toast marshmallows on the barbeque.

Pick them flowers. Preferably from your own garden, or wild flowers (aka weeds) when you go out for your daily walk. If you’re doing a supermarket run you might even find some still available at your local store. There’s always chocolates or trashy magazines if flowers aren’t on sale.

Sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to them twice. Every time you wash your hands and remember to add their name in at the appropriate moment.


Famous people born in April who you’ve probably never heard of, but who have likely played a part in your life, one way or another

April 6, 1928- James D. Watson, biochemist, co-discovered the structure of DNA

April 13, 1899- Alfred Butts, invented the board game "Scrabble"

April 19, 1912- Glenn T. Seaborg, chemist, discovered plutonium

April 21, 1782 - Friedrich Froebel, started the first Kindergarten in Germany in 1837

April 24, 1884 - Isoroku Yamamoto, Japanese Naval Commander who led the invasion of Pearl Harbor

April 26, 1900- Charles Francis Richter, physicist, seismologist, developed Richter scale

April 27, 1927- Coretta Scott King, civil rights leader, wife of Martin Luther King Jr.

To check out some of the other famous (and infamous) people born in April visit this website.


While we are not in the business of organising events, many of Expert’s clients are and use our MoST software. If you’d like to know more about our MoST Event Management System contact us@expert.services

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