In case you missed it, another birthday for Dice has come and gone. And, now that Dice is 42, he’s got the answers to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, so once he figures those out, he’ll let you know.
In the mean time, a brief history of birthdays, from our birthday boy.
~3,000 BCE Egypt – In the book of Genesis, the Bible mentions the Egyptian Pharaoh celebrating a birthday, but this was most likely an event celebrating the Pharaoh’s coronation date, rather than a true birthday. Despite this early birthday mention, Christians thought the celebrations to be pagan rituals and did not begin celebrating Christmas as the birth of Jesus until the 4th Century, when they co-opted the Roman holiday of Saturnalia in hopes of luring more recruits to the faith.
Ancient Greece – Each month, the Greeks offered round, candlelit cakes to Artemis, Goddess of the Moon to celebrate the full moon.
18th Century Germany – Birthday celebrations in many cultures had become common, but Kinderfeste, takes the cake as the first contemporary version of the children’s birthday party. Children would celebrate with cake and one candle for each year of life, plus one extra candle to signify the hope of living another year (This was German in the late 1700’s) and these parties would include the still-used-today tradition of making a wish before blowing out the candles.
19th Century Industrial Revolution – Due to the price of the ingredients, it took mass production to bring birthday cake celebrations to the masses.
June 27, 1859 – Mildred Hill is born. Mildred, along with her sister Patty, coined the lyrics for the song most of us know as “Happy Birthday To You.” The Hill family maintained copyrighted ownership of the song until 1988, when Warner Music acquired the rights to the more than $2 million in annual royalties.
1930’s USA – Pittsburgh company P. Duff & Sons applies for a patent for the first cake mix and the process of making the pastries thanks in part to a surplus of molasses. These Duff Cakes included favorites such as Devil’s Food and Spice Cake versions, but also were the first to include the use of fresh eggs to the batter, which revolutionized the cake mix industry in the 1950’s by making people feel like they were actually baking a cake.
2015 USA – A judge ruled that the song “Happy Birthday To You” belongs in the public domain and royalties no longer have to be paid, so feel free to serenade Dice or anyone else celebrating a birthday!
What’s your favorite cake? Leave a message in the comments section!
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