13 Bizarre Birthday Traditions Around the World

RealClear Contributor


To most Americans, blowing out candles on a cake baked with flour and sugar and eating it is a pretty ordinary birthday tradition. But in other places around the world, you’re really strange for not eating noodles, waiting for the right day to celebrate or getting bumped right on top of your head.


Everyone celebrates their birthday on the same day in Vietnam, and no one really pays attention to the actual day they were born. The big birthday celebration for all occurs on New Year's Day, or Tet. Children commonly receive red envelopes containing money from friends and relatives on this day, which is a day of celebration for all.


Most birthday parties are barbecues in Australia. Instead of cake, they eat Fairy Bread. It's buttered bread covered in sprinkles.


Chinese children eat long noodles for their birthday, a tradition that helps ensure long life.


Children in Denmark wake up to find their presents scattered around their bed. Parents place them there as they sleep. It's also tradition to hang up a flag outside so everyone knows someone is having a birthday.


Birthday cake is eaten cautiously in Great Britain. Since medieval times, it has been tradition to put small trinkets inside the birthday cake. Coins, candies and little figures are still baked inside birthday cakes and that's a clear choking hazard. If you manage to reach 100 birthdays in England, the Queen will send you a telegram to wish you a happy birthday.


Being single is never easy, but it's a real problem in Germany. Men who turn thirty and remain single must sweep the stairs of City Hall while their friends throw trash and debris on the steps, so all the women in town know he’s a single guy.


The birthday cake in Holland is actually pancakes, which are sprinkled with powdered sugar and usually served with hot chocolate or lemonade.


Birthdays are fun for everyone else but the celebrant in Ireland. Here, it's tradition to hold the birthday child upside-down and bump their head on the floor once for each year of life -- plus one more for good luck.


Who needs cake? You'll eat birthday pie in Russia, where a special message is scratched right into the crust.


Kids who live on the Atlantic side of Canada get ambushed on their birthdays so their noses can be greased. That means bad luck can't stick to you, obviously. A wrapped coin is placed between layers of birthday cake, good luck for whoever finds it (unless they break a tooth to do it).

North Korea

You are not allowed to have a birthday on July 8 or December 17 in North Korea because Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il died on these dates. This means that more than 100,000 North Koreans celebrate their birthdays on the wrong days.


It's tradition to get dressed up in totally brand-new clothes every year for your birthday in Japan.


Children in India give presents to other people on their birthdays. They pass out chocolates to their classmates and visit a shrine in order to receive a blessing during the day. Instead of cake, the birthday boy or girl eats doodh pak, a sweet rice pudding.



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