You’ve probably grown up celebrating your birthday every year. The occasion is usually marked with a cake and probably a birthday present or two from close friends and family.
But have you ever wondered why we give presents on birthdays? It seems like an obvious thing to do, but is that just because we’ve all grown up with this tradition of birthday gift giving ingrained in us since birth?
When we’re born, we don’t have anything that belongs to us. We receive our first gift – a T-shirt or baby blanket from our parents or grandparents on the day of our birth.
It seems only fitting that we mark the passage of time as each year passes by at least acknowledging the anniversary of birth, and we do this as a birthday celebration. And, like any good celebration or event, a birthday celebration is one that involves gift giving.
The tradition of giving presents on a person’s birthday is very old. It dates all the way back to ancient history. This tradition started in Ancient Egypt, China, and Greece when the people would worship their gods.
In ancient Egypt, people would give presents to other people. They did this because they believed that their god would get offended if people didn’t give gifts.
The Egyptian king even ruled that all farmers had to give five percent of their harvest to the government as a gift for their god every year. The Egyptians thought that if they didn’t, then there would be a famine or a plague or something bad like that would happen during the year. If you didn’t give a gift to the king, then you could be punished or even killed.
In ancient China, there was the custom of giving presents to people every year. This custom started as early as the Zhou Dynasty (1046-771 BC). The Chinese people gave gifts on their birthdays because they believed it was responsible to do this since it was a day to honor gods and ancestors.
In the west, there were also similar customs like this. The people of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome would give presents on birthdays as well. They thought that if you didn’t do this, then bad things would happen during the year like famine or plagues just like in Egypt or China.
One popular theory for the origin of birthdays is that they are rooted in pagan traditions. In Roman times, it was customary for the birth of a child to be celebrated with a sacrifice to the gods and offerings to the household.
Therefore, this day was seen as special by the Romans and as a way to show thanks for the blessings they had received. This custom carried over into Christianity where Jesus Christ would be crowned on his birthday, but it also carried over into most early European culture.
The tradition of giving presents on birthdays started in the west when the Roman Empire invaded England. At first in England people would give presents to other people for different occasions, but during the Roman Empire they started to give presents on birthdays.
They did this because it was a tradition that the Romans had been doing for generations. The tradition was very popular and spread all over Europe as time went by.
Over time, birthday gifts have evolved from simple expressions of love to more elaborate tokens. According to history, it wasn’t until 19th century Scotland that people started celebrating someone’s birthday or anniversary with cakes and parties.
The first written record of a birthday party is from Scotland in 1843, when it was recorded that, “Young James bore his birthday pretty well; cakes and wine were shared.”
We celebrate birthdays because we want to show the people in our lives how much we care about them and their special moments. When you give your loved ones presents on their birthdays, you’re cementing your bond by celebrating something that makes them unique.
Today, in the U.S., a person usually celebrates their birthday with cake, candles, gifts from family and friends, and a big party.
Not so long ago this tradition was almost unheard of. But it was a common practice in medieval times on almost every anniversary for people to give gifts.
So it seems that the concept of birthday presents is one steeped in age old tradition.
Whether you celebrate your birthday with a party or not, you can usually be pretty confident that your birthday will involve some kind of gift, even if it’s just a small present that you buy for yourself to mark the passing of another year, or maybe just to have your favorite meal for dinner.
Whatever type of birthday you like to have, a birthday present is bound to be a part of it.
And remember, you don’t have to feel stressed about the prospect of choosing a birthday present for your friend or family member, we’ve got all the gift guides you need to give you heaps of inspiration and gift ideas for everyone from bakers, to readers to vegetarians! Birthday gift giving is easy with Good Gifts Guide!
Happy Gift Giving!