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Where traditions come from

C. S. Kim  |  23 August 2020

Q Have you ever wondered why you cut a cake on your birthday? 

The modern birthday cake was introduced in the early 1900s. That’s not to say people before that didn’t celebrate with cake. Before the modern convention of blowing candles out on a cake to celebrate birthdays existed, people would light candles and blow them out as a way of celebration. Even without the cake, there were simple ways people would celebrate the ageing process.

Q But why do we cut the cake?

In past times, people only cut cake on their wedding day. It was used to symbolise the moment that the couple would do everything together from that point onwards, as in their vows. By ‘everything together’, they meant to remain loyal and encourage one another through their journey of life.

However, with modernisation quickly changing society in the late 19th century, the cutting of the cake soon became more common. It became the norm to cut the cake simply to have fun and to share it around. Which of course, is an incredibly important part of a birthday.

Q Well then, is there a point to cutting cake on your birthday?

No, not really. But it is an essential part to sharing cake around, which makes half the joy of a celebration. So, we’ll continue cutting our cakes and filling our stomachs by sharing some of the celebratory cheer through cake.


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