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eLenaLicious's avatar

Why do some blow one extra candle for good luck on their birthdays?

Asked by eLenaLicious (822points) February 15th, 2010

The other day in my Japanese 2 class, we were discussing birthdays I believe.
Well the majority of my class says they blow one extra candle for good luck. My teacher, a few other students, including I myself have never heard of such a thing.
Do you guys know anybody that does that? Do you do it yourself?
Where has this originated, and why do you think one extra candle blown is good luck?
I think my teacher says we get extra credit if we find out and tell him :D

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13 Answers

lilikoi's avatar

I have heard of this and seen it done many times, but I have no idea where the tradition comes from. This is interesting, but I have no idea if it is true.

eLenaLicious's avatar

I live in Hawai’i by the way…do you think it’s just a local thing?

lilikoi's avatar

Sorry, the link I posted earlier didn’t have any info on the extra candle thing though. This Wikipedia article just says “In North America, the number of candles is equal to the age of the individual whose birthday it is, sometimes with one extra for luck.” I guess it could be a Hawaii thing (I don’t have much experience with non-Hawaii birthdays lol)....but then if it is, I’d expect it to originate in some other culture. Hopefully someone else will know! You’ve got me wondering.

MissAusten's avatar

According to Wikipedia, the use of candles on birthday cakes originated in Germany. They seem to have added extra candles to represent the years of a person’s life yet to come, so maybe the tradition some families have of adding that extra candle “for luck” really means “for luck in the upcoming year.” Just a guess based on a quick search. :)

When I was a kid, my family only used the number of candles to correspond to the birthday person’s age. My husband’s family adds the extra candle for luck. I grew up in the midwest in a WASPy family. My husband grew up in New England in an Italian family. I like their tradition of adding the extra candle, so we’ve always done that with our kids. To keep it from being confusing, the extra candle is usually different from the others. For example, I’ll put 4 plain candles and 1 number candle on for a 4th birthday.

Anyway, the best part is eating the cake after a young child has attempted several times to blow out the candles and coated the cake with saliva. Mmmmmm!

eLenaLicious's avatar

Italian huh? I feel so disgraceful since I am part Italian and I was not even aware of that tradition until recently lol

ChaosCross's avatar

No idea lol

MissAusten's avatar

@eLenaLicious I don’t know if it has anything to do with being Italian, I just threw that out there for comparison!

gailcalled's avatar

Like @MissAusten; we no longer put candles on the cake, but in a separate candle holder. That solves both the saliva and melted wax problem.

davidbetterman's avatar

It is one to grow on!

susanc's avatar

Yeah, one to grow on. If you don’t have the extra candle, you’ll stay the age you’re at
when this birthday is happening. For those of you whose families didn’t put that extra
candle on your cakes: hadn’t you noticed how immature you still are?

Everyone knows this.

buckyboy28's avatar

It’s a scheme orchestrated by the candle companies to sell more candles.

asmonet's avatar

About 70% of my family is Ecuadorian. The rest are a smattering of things from across the globe. We all add an extra candle, and I can’t remember a birthday when we didn’t. Save for the few cakes with the number candles.

thriftymaid's avatar

In case no one bakes them a cake next year.

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