While most of us here just celebrate our birthdays with a cake and an embarrassing serenade in public, there are many cultures around the world with unique ways of honouring their birthday.
Of course, these unusual practices are not representative of every individual belonging to that culture, with most of them being a traditional concept rather than a frequently practiced custom. It’s still fun to us, however, to learn about the quirks that surround birthday traditions from different parts of the world – read on to find out more!
Get floured in Jamaica
It’s just like orientation camp, except Jamaicans get floured every year on their birthday. This fun tradition takes place either at an organised party or as part of an ambush.
Everyone shares the same birthday in Vietnam
Yup, you read that right. The Vietnamese do not acknowledge the exact day that they were born, because everyone celebrates their birthday on New Year’s Day, or what they call Tet. On the morning of Tet, adults give children a red envelope similar to our ang bao, to congratulate them on being a year older.
Compulsory chores in Germany
Being single isn’t all that fun in Germany: Men over 30 years old who are still single are forced to sweep the stairs of their local city hall, as friends throw rubble on them. The ordeal was meant to embarrass the victim, while possibly helping him get a girlfriend by proving to passing women that he can clean the house well.
Get your nose greased in Canada
In Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland), the birthday child is ambushed and gets their nose greased, typically with butter, for good luck. Apparently, the greased nose makes the child too slippery for bad luck to catch them!
Bumping it in Ireland
The birthday child is held upside down and “bumped” on the floor, once for every year of their age, plus one for good luck. No wonder the Irish are so hardy.