The day you are born is your birthday.
Every year on your birthday you are one year older.
Some kids have a party on their birthday.
We sing a song to a birthday person.
We give them presents.
A celebration is a happy time when people get together in honour of something special.
Different religions or countries each have their own celebration or way of celebrating.
A birthday is a happy time when a family gets together to share special food.
Here are some ways birthdays are celebrated in a few different countries.
In Mexico, at a birthday party a pinata (say pin-ya-tuh) filled with sweets is hung up. Children play a game taking turns to be blindfolded and hit the pinata with a stick till it breaks. Then they all gather up the sweets that fall out.
In Germany one family member wakes up early and lights candles on the birthday cake. There is one candle for every year and one extra for good luck. The candles are left burning all day, and after dinner everyone sings the birthday song and the birthday child tries to blow out all the candles in one go. If they do, their wishes will come true.
In Holland, there are special crown birthdays: 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th and 21st. The birthday person gets an extra big present in their crown years.
The family decorate the birthday chair in the dining room with special decorations or flowers, streamers and balloons.
In Vietnam everyone celebrates their birthday on New Year’s Day. No matter when a baby is born during the year, it turns one at its first New Year.
In India, children wear new clothes on their birthday. The family goes to church called a temple. A birthday meal might be a curry followed by dessert that is like rice pudding, with different nuts and spices in it.
In China they believe that a baby is one year old when it is born. The second birthday is a special event and so is the sixth birthday. The birthday child receives a gift of money. At a birthday lunch, long noodles are served to wish the birthday child a long life.
In Japan, the year a girl turns 3 and 7 and the year a boy turns 5, they go to a temple on November 15th and pray for a long life.
On their birthday, children wear a new kimono, the traditional Japanese clothes.
In the USA and many other places, children blow out candles on their birthday cake. The number of candles is the same as the age of the birthday person. If they can blow out all the candles in one blow, birthday wishes will come true.
In Australia the birthday child has a cake with the same number of candles as their age, and everyone sings the birthday song. Sometimes everyone claps one clap for each year and one extra to grow. Party food includes fairy bread, which is bread and butter and coloured sprinkles. Often tiny little meat pies are served, and sometimes chocolate treats called chocolate crackles.
In some countries a name day is celebrated instead of a birthday, although now more people have started to celebrate their birthday as well. Greece is one country where this is done. A name day is the special day of a saint, and people who were given that saint's name celebrate on that day. There is special food, lots of music and dancing on people’s name days and birthdays.
Do you enjoy birthday parties?
Hundreds of years ago, Greeks started putting candles on birthday cakes.
The custom of having a birthday party started in Germany a long time ago.
Birthday cards started in England about 100 years ago. When someone could not attend a birthday party, they sent a card to explain and to wish the birthday person a happy birthday.