Text: “A kind of funny tradition my family has is that whenever we celebrate a birthday we have to make one wish for each year of life. We also have a little book where we each write down our wishes from each previous birthday. Basically each time you celebrate a birthday you add a wish to your list before you blow out the candles on the cake and it is a way of keeping track of what you wanted and makes you appreciate what you already do have a little more. A good example is my wish for my 18th birthday was to get into USC and now I go there, so knowing and seeing my wish actually come true is a result of this tradition. In a weird way I feel like doing this makes wishes come true more often.
Context: CH is a friend of mine from San Francisco. He said this tradition came from his Dad’s side of the family and that his dad had been doing it since he was a kid. Unfortunately, both of CH’s Dad’s parents had passed away so it was impossible to get further detail about the genesis of the tradition. CH believed that this tradition helped hi appreciate all he had more because usually he ended up growing out of whatever he wished for previously, but also that seeing some wishes actually come true throughout his life made him more grateful for the things he did have. It was fun talking to CH about the stories associate with this tradition.
Analysis: The act of blowing out candles on a birthday cake is a fun and lighthearted tradition that has become an integral part of most birthday celebrations. While the origins of the tradition may have been rooted in ancient beliefs and rituals, today it is a way for people to come together to celebrate another year of life and make a wish for the future. This is a fun spin of the super popular act of blowing out birthday candles and I think it is all the better because of it’s positive effects on the outlook of CH and his family. Furthermore, it has a deeper meaning because they are keeping the folklore of CH’s Dad in the process of continuing to do it. Once people become of an older more mature age it would be very entertaining to see how one’s desires had evolved. Furthermore, I think this tradition does have the effect of leading people to believe their wishes are more likely to come true because they get to actually see and remember what they wished for while most other people would have likely forgotten.