Unusual legends about Birthdays

Welcome back, fellow humans!

In modern times, birthdays are not celebrated like it was observed in history. In the past, believing in mischievous spirits, zodiac signs, charms, and vengeful deities was common. Old wives’ tales about birthdays are recognised around the world and are associated with boosted luck.


In 1903, a book called the Encylopedia of Superstitions, Folklore, And The Occult Sciences Of The World spoke about all the superstitions from around the world. One grisly tradition involves piercing a finger to draw three drops of blood to fall on a handkerchief and then keeping it with the person all year for good luck. Primula vulgaris is a species of flowering plant that eating primroses depicts good luck on his/her birthday. Primrose is non-toxic, used as edible cake decorations. Eating red-dyed duck eggs symbolises good fortune. Formerly, the addition of a ring to the birthday cake mix, and the person who acquires the ring in their slice would be married soon. The ring offers a surge of luck if that person is already married. In other versions, placing a dime in a birthday cake mix and the one who receives the slice with the dime will be filthy rich. A tempestuous birthday signifies ill-fate or bad luck, misfortune is brought onto an ill person who receives a gift on their birthday because they probably will not see the next one, and passing away on the birthday implies that the soul will be saved. Birthday gifts such as a knife cut friendships and shoes as a present means that they will abandon their lover.

Ancient Greeks always dedicated a poem to the person on their birthdays, which was generally expected to be recited to him/her with massive ceremony and custom. The order of the astrological signs reflects the position of the sun when a person was born, these signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. The whole concept of a zodiac sign.

According to Ancient Romans, a personal god acknowledged as a genius, like a guardian angel or an ever-changing soul in a sacred incarnation that deserves respect, especially on birthdays, they were showered with indulgent presents. Nevertheless, the word Genius had a different definition nowadays, “A genius is a person who displays exceptional intellectual ability, creative productivity, universality in genres or originality, typically to a degree that is associated with the achievement of new advances in a domain of knowledge”.


The Roman Emperors preferred to be adorned and worshipped to make themselves into diety or religious leader after they passed away, all the Roman Empire idolised the genius of Emperor Augustus after he passed onto the great beyond. Conventionally, gifts were presented to the genius on his/her birthday which included godly offerings like the crown of flowers, wine, or scented incense.


According to present-day Russia and Germany, wishing or celebrating somebody a happy birthday before the day itself symbolizes misfortunate or bad manners. Many parents only give children their presents the day after their birthday. Some superstitious individuals always mention it’s better to forget to celebrate the person’s own birthday to welcome good luck. Traditionally, Russian ghosts were recognised as pilferers, they steal the trouble-causing family members’ possessions, only returning the belongings if the situation is pacified during the week of the disobedient person’s birthday. Possibly, Russian parents scare children to act adequately by hiding the family assets themselves.

The Middle Ages was a precarious place to give birth because childbirth was notorious for killing many women. A safe birth can only be guaranteed when carrying around a birthing bag full of amulets, and pagan charms including “a baby’s caul” or quoting palindromes to hastilyand effortlessly push the baby out of the mother. The Latin charm Sator Arepo Tenet Opera Rotas, “The sower, with his plough, holds the wheels with care,” was meant to have a safe birth, however, both the mother and baby were entirely muddled until the birthing process was complete.

The ancient Egyptian city of Alexandria

During the rule of the legendary Macedonian leader, Alexander The Great, he constructed the major designs for the Egyptian city that would line up with the rising sun yearly on Alexander’s birthday. It is associated with a celestial phenomenon known as “the King’s Star,” this section of the Leo constellation rose yearly during Alexander’s birthday.


The Americans and their birthday tradition of spankings. In the United States, there are some Southern traditions that the lit candles on the birthday cake signify the awaiting years the person has until they get married. Blowing them out all the candles at once will be married in a year time.


According to Ancient Greeks, blowing out candles on the birthday cake is traditional, as offerings they bake sweet, circular honey cakes and cover them with candles to mould it like the moon, thus worshipping Artemis, the moon goddess. All the wishes will come true if they blow the candles with one breath, and keeping these wishes a secret. Yearly, this gets tougher because a candle gets added to the mix, so a big breath to increase the likelihood of happiness and success. Regarding German customs, placing a massive candle in the middle of the cake. Moreover, the lingering smoke after blowing out this candle, this smoke carries wishes into the air to the gods above meaning that the wish would come true.


In Japan, when a man turns 60, he journeys through his second childhood (kanreki). It is a necessity to wear a red hat and red vest to signify his entry to childhood. Following this, his entire ordeals have vanished, and reborn with new opportunities. According to Korea traditions, when someone reaches 61, they go back to the time they were born, fundamentally to start afresh.


The Italians celebrate the birthday by asking a trusted friend or family member to pull on their ear lobe. This superstition derived from having long ears represented as a good luck and to live a long life.


In China, treating yourself with vermicelli snacks and peach-shaped cake are seen as a lucky symbol. In India, consuming salt means misfortune on the birthday. The Pennsylvanian German birthday traditions require eating a doughnut for a fortune on the birthday, which guarantees a happy life the following year.


According to Christians, some claim that the person’s day of birth and personality is cosmically linked. The legend says on a positive notice, being born on a Monday gives “fair of face,” a Tuesday gives “full of grace,” while Friday gives “loving and giving” and Saturday birth gives “must work for a living.” More negative qualities on such days, a Wednesday gives “woe” and Thursday birth gives  “far to go.” A child that enters the world on a Sunday has the ideal qualities, “fair, wise, good and gay.” However, there is no proof that the day the person is born has any impact on personality.

What is the most uncommon superstition you have ever heard of?

Thank you for reading, fellow humans.

38 thoughts on “Unusual legends about Birthdays

  1. The fact that they gave wine to people on their birthday is a mood because that is something I definitely would have wanted.


  2. Here these readings always manage to excite me because I love to discover stories like these behind common things like birthdays …


  3. That was one interesting read.

    I knew that people who died on their birthday it was being said that their soul is saved because it is a custom in my family too. My maternal grandfather died on his birthday and that was first when I heard this thing from my dad. Then my paternal grandpa, mom and dad both died on their birthday. My mom’s death time of death was 11:11am exact on 30th oct and guess what, that was the date and time when she was born.

    However, I wasn’t aware of the other old wives tales and I loved reading them.


  4. Look at all these traditions and beliefs about birthdays! I feel like I think there’s only something special about birthdays because I’ve been socialized to think so!


  5. I have heard of a couple of these but most were new for me. Very fascinating! Especially the Japanese and Korean ones where older men return to their time of birth or childhood. Very bizarre!


  6. so many traditions and legends, such an interesting titled book that you came across, Encylopedia of Superstitions, Folklore, And The Occult Sciences Of The World. very unique indeed .lovely post


  7. These are all such unique rituals. We just started this year to not give gifts and instead do experiences. We love it so far! Thanks for sharing these.


  8. So interesting! I’ve never heard of most of these legends before. In the Philippines, it’s common to serve pancit (a dish with rice noodles) on your birthday because it symbolizes long life.


  9. This is all really fascinating! I am from Ukraine so I did grow up hearing that I’ll die if someone wishes me an early happy birthday. Then I moved to China and they believed it was bad luck to wish a happy birthday late so they preferred to do it early and I was like oh no! You’ll kill me 😀 I love learning about different traditions and folklore from all over the world. Thank you so much for sharing!


  10. Wow I love reading about the origins of holidays, but who knew birthdays have so many rich traditions and meanings as well. It’s amazing to see how birthdays are observed throughout history and in different cultures.


  11. Ok this is by far the most interesting article I read today. I never knew there were so many stories related to the celebrations of a birthday.


  12. I have heard of kanreki as I live in Japan. But this is an interesting post because I never knew there were such superstitions with birthdays.


  13. There’s no doub c t that a birthday hamper is a foolproof gift for just about everyone, however, while the Western idea of celebrating a birthday is with a cake and a few candles, this idea hasn’t quite caught on in other parts of the world.


  14. What a fascinating history of Birthdays. Nowadays, we gather around a cake and blow out candles without realizing all the ancient traditions avd stories that represent such a simple act.


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