Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Mise En Place

It sounds odd to wish an inanimate object Happy Birthday.  But what the heck.  Birthdays celebrate the anniversary of the beginning of something.  Or the way I like to look at it, I celebrate a birthday because I'm glad that person, or thing in this case, is in my life. 
As I ponder what tasty treat to make to mark the occasion of the birth of my blog, albeit only important to me, I'm wondering how did birthday celebrations start?  Who started the tradition of a birthday cake?  And I'll try to clear up some of the questions surrounding the song Happy Birthday To You.  

My party will include me, myself and I ... with my husband cheering me on.  In ancient times, birthday celebrations before the creation of the calendar were virtually non-existent.  While there is documentation of celebrations for royalty of an Egyptian Pharaoh (The Hebrew Bible, Genesis 40:20), it is unlikely they were celebrated on the actual anniversary date of his birth.  Once the Egyptians perfected tracking time, it was possible to identify the exact date of one's birth.  With that, the beginning of astrology was born.  Documenting birthdays now became very important for telling one's future, especially for their rulers.  I guess the birth date of my blog makes it a Leo!

For whatever reason, the superstitious came to believe that good or evil spirits would visit on one's birthday.  The party traditions we've come to know today originated from these pagan inventions.  Either the person could be helped or harmed by these spirits.  In an effort to protect the loved one on their birthday, friends and family would gather to protect him or her.  Birthday party!

If people gather around, they obviously need to eat.  The Greeks took the next step.  Because the Greeks worshipped Artemis once a month (goddess associated with the crescent moon), they would celebrate her day with round cakes, symbolizing the potential shape of the moon.  Lighting candles on these cakes represented a glowing moon.  To them, this held significance of honor, tribute and good fortune according to The Lore of Birthdays.

Because the Catholic church objected to these pagan rituals, the birthday party as we know it today is a relatively new thing.  Over time, people rejected the pagan notions and no longer took it seriously or the history of its origins faded away.  The Europeans found a way to keep the fun traditions alive and now we've been known to spend thousands of dollars on celebrating birthdays.

Oh...what about the Happy Birthday To You song?  Is it an urban myth this song is copyrighted?  No, it's true and has been the case since the 1935.  According to Warner Music it will remain so until 2030.  That shouldn't stop you from singing the song so long as you are not in a for profit situation.   It now seems clear why restaurants have chosen to wish the birthday person with their own creative, witty songs.

In a nod to tradition for a non-traditional birthday such as mine, I've decided to go with homemade Vanilla Bean ice cream.  It is after all, in the shape of a moon.

If you're looking for a tasty homemade recipe for Vanilla Bean ice cream, I highly recommend this one. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...