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Pagan Birthday Traditions

Have you ever blown out candles on your birthday cake? If so, you’ve participated in what’s probably the most common pagan birthday tradition today. The very idea of celebrating your birthday at all is thanks to paganism! In fact, many Christians historically did not celebrate birthdays because of its link to the belief system.


The concept of birthdays

Birthdays didn’t begin until calendars were created. It wasn’t until ancient cultures realized that the solar and lunar cycles, and the seasons were cyclic. This gave them a milestone to come back to and celebrate each year. The earliest mention of a birthday was by the ancient Egyptians around 3000 BC. However, this wasn’t in reference to a physical birth, but rather a pharaoh’s birth into a “god.” Ancient Greek pagans believed the body had a spirit that was present when they were born. This spirit kept watch over them and was associated with the god on whose birthday that person was born. The Romans were the first culture to celebrate the birth of a mortal man. Many Romans would celebrate the births of their friends, but the government would make holidays out of more famous persons’ birthdays. When a citizen turned 50, they would get a cake!


Blowing out the candles

In Ancient Greece, moon-shaped or round sweets were topped with candles and offered to the moon goddess Artemis. The candles represented prayers. So, blowing out the candles while making a wish would be a way to send your wish to the gods or universe. In other pagan history, it was believed that bad spirits visited people on their birthday. So, loved ones needed to gather around them and make merry. Candles were lit for protection and warding.


Modern ways to add magic to your birthday

There are many ways you can incorporate magic and paganism into your birthday celebration. You could create an altar for passed loved ones that you want to celebrate with you, or do a Celtic cross tarot spread. Do a spell for good luck in the year ahead, or do a thorough cleansing of your home. Any and all spells are amplified on your birthday!


If none of those things are appealing to you, that’s ok. Just celebrating at all is pagan enough. You don’t have to put excessive effort into your craft. Do what feels right!


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