Folk Belief – Milpitas, CA

Birthday Tradition

Every year on my birthday we have a family get together to celebrate my birthday.  And for dessert, we have a birthday cake.  My mom would always put the same amount of candles on the cake as the age I was turning, plus one candle for good luck.  For example, when I turned eighteen, there were nineteen candles on my birthday cake for good luck.

I believe this extra candle was put on my cake as good luck because as an American, I, and my family, have a future oriented mindset, so the extra candle represents the year to come and assumes I will be alive for at least another year and, hopefully, have good luck all year.  In my family, this tradition, typically, is only carried out on the birthdays of people twenty-five and under, which shows a focus on the young and healthy, whom will be the makers of the future of America.  I had always thought that everybody always put an extra candle on their birthday cakes for good luck, only recently had I discovered otherwise from two of my roommates.