What Is a Birthday?

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A birthday commemorates and celebrates the beginning of existence of a person, a nation or an organization. The annual celebration is generally marked by gifts and a cake. A birthday is also a time to evaluate the past year’s progress and make adjustments for the coming year.

The origin of birthday candles is attributed to a Greek tribute to the moon goddess, Artemis. Candles were lit and placed on a cake as a tribute to her radiance and beauty. Later, in Germany, children celebrated a birthday with a cake alight with one candle for each year of life, plus one extra candle to represent the expectation of living another year.