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Unique Birthday Traditions Around The World

Feliz Aniversário! Saeng-il chugha! Happy Birthday!

Maria Bailey · 4 months ago

  • travel
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No journey around the sun would be complete without singing happy birthday and blowing out the candles on your birthday cake, right? While these rituals might be the hallmark of many birthday celebrations in the U.S., we don't all celebrate the same way! In fact, there are many customs and traditions that are very special to people in countries and cultures around the world. From flower crowns to longevity noodles, discover some of the unique ways people celebrate their birthdays around the world. 

Flower Crowns (Israel)

Birthday traditions around the world

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Flowers might be a customary birthday gift, but in Israel, a child will traditionally wear their flowers in the form of a flower crown! But that's not all. The flower crown-wearing girl or boy is then raised in the air in a seated position by their parents as guests dance and sing while the ceremony unfolds. Sounds like one heck of a party, if you ask us!

Fairy Bread (Australia and New Zealand)

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Fairies aren't really behind this delicious sweet treat, but it's pretty magical nonetheless! Fairy bread is traditionally served at children's birthday parties in Australia and New Zealand, made very simply from bread, butter, and multi-colored sprinkles. Try out this rainbow-colored snack for yourself!

Longevity Noodles (China)

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Longevity noodles are an ancient birthday tradition from China that continues to this day! Also known as birthday noodles or yi mein, they’re not just regular noodles. They literally mean life-long noodles, and it is believed the longer the noodle, the bigger the wish for a longer, prosperous life. Learn about the fascinating history behind this special dish, dating all the way back to the Han Dynasty

New Birthday Clothes (India)

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Among the many birthday traditions celebrated in India is the practice of wearing brand new clothes on your birthday! Children are treated to a new outfit to ring in their special day and often skip their school uniform in favor of their new look.

Seaweed Soup (South Korea)

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Miyeok guk or seaweed soup is traditionally served as part of a birthday breakfast in South Korea. Its main ingredient, miyeok, or seaweed, is said to replenish nutrients, which is also why mothers often eat this after giving birth to help with their recovery. Whether it’s your birthday or not, this dish can be enjoyed any time of year, and is eaten by Koreans on normal days just as often, too!

Celebration of Tết (Vietnam)

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Can you imagine celebrating your birthday on the same day as your family, friends, and the entire country? That's exactly what happens in Vietnam, where people celebrate their birthdays together as part of their New Year's Day celebrations referred to as Tết! In Vietnamese culture, the actual day of birth is not to be acknowledged, rather everyone turns one year older at Tết, and what a party it must be! 

Ear Pulling (Hungary and Italy)

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No, we're not pulling your leg — ear pulling on one's birthday is actually a thing in many countries, including Hungary and Italy. This is where loved ones lovingly pull on the ears of the birthday boy, girl, or adult — receiving one pull for each one of their years!

Piñata (Mexico)

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Who doesn't love a birthday piñata? While the origin of this popular birthday tradition is a mysterious one, there's no denying a piñata as we know it today is a Mexican tradition that has spread widely, and is also celebrated in Puerto Rico and several countries in Latin America. But for those of you who haven't experienced a piñata before, the rules are simple: use a stick to hit the paper-mache vessel hanging above you while blind-folded. The objective? Break the piñata open to get at the candies inside!