50 Things you never knew about birthdays

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50 Amazing Birthday Facts You Never Knew

  1. More people celebrate their birthdays in August than in any other month (about 9% of all people). The two other months that rate high for birthdays are July and September.
  2. Hallmark Cards and American Greetings are the largest producers of birthday cards in the world.
  3. In the United Kingdom, it is estimated that one billion pounds are spent on greeting cards every year, with the average person sending 55 cards per year
  4. The Queen has two birthdays, an official one and a private one. The first official sovereigns birthday happened in 1748.
  5. In 2007 the Queen sent out a 8,439 100th birthday messages, the number increases each year as people are living longer.
  6. Figures from 1917 record only seven men and 17 women receiving 100th birthday greetings sent on behalf of King George V. In 1952, just 255 centenarians received a congratulatory message.
  7. The oldest ever recipient of a message from The Queen was a Canadian gentleman, who reached the age of 116 in December 1984, whilst the oldest British recipient was 115, the oldest woman in Britain at the time.
  8. Occasionally, twins reach their milestone together. In 2006, three sets of twin sisters and in 2007, twin brothers reaching 100 were recorded by Buckingham Palace.
  9. During her reign The Queen has sent approximately 110,000 telegrams and messages to centenarians in the UK and the Commonwealth.
  10. The oldest known birthday card was created in England in the 1400s, but the tradition of birthday cards did not become common until the mid-1800s.
  11. Louis Prang (1823-1909) has come to be known as "The Father of the American Greeting Card." Prang was an immigrant from Germany who settled in Boston and started a printing company (Prang and Co.). After years of developing his printing process, he started making cards in 1875. The more than 5 million cards Prang manufactured every year from 1881 is cited as a major reason for the growth of the greeting card industry.
  12. Hallmark Cards was started over 100 years ago in 1910.
  13. William Shatner, the legendary Captain James T. Kirk of Star Trek, turned 80 in March 2011.
  14. According to the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records, "Happy Birthday to You" is the most recognized song in the English language, followed by "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" and "Auld Lang Syne".
  15. The melody of "Happy Birthday to You" comes from the song "Good Morning to All", which was written and composed by American siblings Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill in 1893.
  16. The combination of melody and lyrics in "Happy Birthday to You" first appeared in print in 1912, and probably existed even earlier.
  17. One of the most famous performances of "Happy Birthday to You" was Marilyn Monroe's rendition to U.S. President John F. Kennedy in May 1962.
  18. Because of the copyright issue, filmmakers rarely show complete singalongs of "Happy Birthday" in films, either substituting the public-domain "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" or avoiding the song entirely.
  19. In China traditionally they give you noodles and eggs instead of birthday cake: the noodles represent long life and hard-boiled eggs represent peace. So the wish is you have a peaceful, long life.
  20. The more you appreciate your own birthday, the more you will appreciate other peoples birthdays. They are a great reason to get friends and family together for a meal.
  21. Although the major religions celebrate the birth of their founders (e.g., Buddha's Birthday), Christmas – which is celebrated widely by Christians and non-Christians alike – is the most prominent example. In contrast, certain religious groups, as is the case with Jehovah's Witnesses, express principled opposition to the very idea of celebrating birthdays.
  22. Jewish boys become bar mitzvah on their 13th birthday. Jewish girls become bat mitzvah on their 12th birthday, or sometimes on their 13th birthday in Reform and Conservative Judaism. This marks the transition where they become obligated in commandments of which they were previously exempted and are counted as part of the community
  23. In North America, families often mark a girl's 16th birthday with a Sweet sixteen (birthday) celebration.
  24. A person's Golden or Grand Birthday, also referred to as their "Lucky Birthday", "Champagne Birthday" or "Star Birthday", occurs when they turn the age of their birth day (e.g., when someone born on the 25th of the month turns 25).
  25. The Grand Duke's Official Birthday in Luxembourg is typically celebrated upon June 23.
  26. A person born on February 29 may be called a "leapling" or a "leaper". In common years they usually celebrate their birthdays on February 28 or March 1.
  27. The history of Birthday Cake can be traced back to the ancient Greeks who made round or moon shaped honey cakes or bread and took it to the temple of Artemis -the Goddess of Moon. Some scholars, however, believe that the tradition of Birthday cake started in Germany in Middle Ages. Sweetened bread dough was given the shape of baby Jesus in swaddling cloth and was used to commemorate his birthday. This special birthday cake later reemerged in Germany as a Kinderfest or the birthday celebrations of a young child. Germans also baked another special kind of a cake called Geburtstagorten as it was baked in layers. This was sweeter that the coarse and bread like cake that were usually made at that time.
  28. The tradition of placing candles on Birthday cake is attributed to early Greeks, who used place lit candles on cakes to make them glow like the moon. Greeks used to take the cake to the temple of Artemis-the Goddess of Moon. Some scholars say that candles were placed on the cake because people believe that the smoke of the candle carried their wishes and prayers to Gods who lived in the skies. Others believe that the custom originated in Germany where people used to place a large candle in the centre of the cake to symbolize ‘the light of life’. In present times too, people place candles on Birthday cakes and a silent wish is made before blowing out the candle. It is believed that blowing out all candles in one breath means the wish will come true and the person with enjoy good luck in the coming year. Some also smear out the name of the person before slicing of the cake to bring good luck.
  29. The Chinese birthday pastry is the sou bao, lotus-paste-filled buns made of wheat flour which are shaped and coloured to resemble peaches.
  30. In the 15th century, bakeries in Germany conceived the idea of marketing one-layer cakes for customers' birthdays as well as for only their weddings, and thus the modern birthday cake was born. During the 17th century, the birthday cake took on more or less its contemporary form. However, these elaborate cakes, which possessed many aspects of contemporary cakes (such as multiple layers, icing, and decorations), were only available to the very wealthy.
  31. In Uruguay, party guests touch the birthday person's shoulder or head following the singing of Happy Birthday to You.
  32. In Ecuador, sometimes the birthday person will take a large bite off the birthday cake before it's served.
  33. In Western Russia, birthday children are served fruit pies with a birthday greetings carved into the crusts.
  34. The Swedish birthday cake is made like a pound cake and is often topped with marzipan and decorated with the national flag.
  35. A Dutch birthday pastry are fruit tarts topped with whipped cream.
  36. The Mexican birthday tradition involves a piñata, a coloured brittle container filled with candy.
  37. In India it's common to rub a piece of cake icing on the face of the birthday person, after the cake has been cut.
  38. In some parts of France it is considered good luck to keep a slice of Birthday cake under your bed.
  39. Gifts have been wrapped since 105 AD, the time of paper invention.
  40. Before printed wrapping paper people used plain tissue paper in red, green, and white. The tissue paper was flimsy and sometimes the colours would bleed. Wrapping paper often fell off the gift or tore before the gift giving process actually occurred. Joyce C. Hall the founder of Hallmark came up with the idea of printed wrapping paper in the 1920's.
  41. Since the intervention of Daylight Saving Time there are cases where a baby born second is recorded as having been born up to an hour before their predecessor.
  42. The early Christians did not celebrate Christ's birth because they considered the celebration of anyone's birth to be a pagan custom.
  43. In probability theory, the birthday problem or birthday paradox pertains to the probability that in a set of randomly chosen people some pair of them will have the same birthday. By the pigeonhole principle, the probability reaches 100% when the number of people reaches 366 (excluding February 29 births). But perhaps counter-intuitively, 99% probability is reached with just 57 people, and 50% probability with 23 people. These conclusions are based on the assumption that each day of the year (except February 29) is equally probable for a birthday.
  44. People who's birthday falls at Christmas often opt to celebrate their half year birthday instead.
  45. Fewer babies are born on Christmas day making a Christmas birthday a very special birthday indeed. Usually, on average about 220,000 babies are born each day but on Christmas day only about 172,000 babies are born.
  46. Research into the children's birthday market has revealed that a staggering £845 million is spent on birthday presents in the UK every year; over £100 million of which is wasted on gifts that are unwanted, unused or duplicates.
  47. "I am prepared to meet my Maker. Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter.", Churchill on the eve of his 75th birthday.
  48. Birthdays are only mentioned 3 times by Shakespeare (Antony and Cleopatra [III, 13], Julius Caesar [V, 1] and Pericles [II, 1]) in contrast Birthdays are mentioned on average once a week in the Archers.
  49. Some cultures celebrate the Saint Day that they were born on rather than their own birthday.
  50. Harry Potters birthday is 31 July 1980, the same birthday (not year) as J K Rowling.