Image of a white layered birthday cake with nine lit candles. Yellow text surrounding the cake on blue background.
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Celebrating a birthday with a cake with lit candles is a practice that has evolved over hundreds of years across the globe. In Ancient Greece, there was a tradition of making moon-shaped cakes to bring to the temple of Artemis, goddess of the moon. The cakes had lit candles decorating them, meant to make them shine like the moon. In Roman times, cakes were made to celebrate some citizens’ 50th birthdays, although this was reserved for men of high social status. By the 18th century, Germans had a tradition of celebrating birthdays for children, called “Kinderfeste,” in which a cake would be topped with candles in the morning, and kept lit all day until the cake was eaten after dinner. It was not until the industrial revolution, however, that birthday cakes became a trend in the United States, when ingredients, baking tools, and even pre-made cakes cost less and were more accessible to the population.
Sterling, J. (2017, May 23). A brief history of the birthday cake. Food & Wine. https://www.foodandwine.com/desserts/cake/brief-history-birthday-cake