Many of the birthday traditions followed in Britain are the same as in the United States. There are presents, cakes with a theme, birthday cards and dependent upon age, games. Obviously there are some differences which make the British culture unique.
This is how are birthdays celebrated in Britain - for kids and adults:
The unique tradition of returning the child's birthday cake
One unique tradition is the return the child's cake home after the party. The major event at the party is not eating the cake, but blowing out the candles. The cake is returned home, normally unserved, in a napkin, smashed and definitely unappetizing. There is no definitive answer as to why this tradition developed. Some believe it was due to the massive amount of food already eaten. Others point to the desire to extend the party to the child's home.
Picking a birthday theme
Many companies offer great birthday themes which can be easily be ordered online. The selection of Peter Rabbit for Prince George will no doubt skyrocket it in popularity. For the teen and adult, promoted themes include Rock N Roll, James Bond and the Union Jack.
Birthday Party game ideas
While many of the games played in Britain are well known such as Pin the Tail on the Donkey and Musical Chairs, there are some party games uniquely British. A messy game is the donut game. The object of this game is to eat the suspended donut without using the hands or licking the lips.
There are two bump games. One is where the birthday boy or girl is turned upside down. The head is lightly bumped until reaching the age. In Scotland the bumps are rougher but payment of a pound per year helps ease the pain. Musical bump is similar to musical chairs without the chairs. Children walk until the music stops, and then go to the floor. The winner is the last person to hit the floor.
The party follows up
The child's birthday party is followed by a Tea Party. Regardless of the hour it follows the traditional menu of cucumber sandwiches, sausages, vegetables and "hula hoops" better known as crisps or chips. The party ends as prizes are grabbed from either a bag or barrel. Whatever is touched is kept. Everyone wins.
Adult birthday party
One of the unique British birthday traditions occurs at 21. On that birthday the male is given a key to the house. When this tradition originated, a man lived at home until marriage. With the key, the man was given the right to come and go as he liked. Today, many find this confusing because in Britain you are an adult at 18.
Start your own tradition
There are numerous sites that offer experiences like driving exotic cars. If there is no need for speed, there are indoor skydiving tours of sports facilities, and "glamping." Birthdays are a rite of passage in Britain as elsewhere. Bumps are given as a child to represent the number of years. A key is given at 21.
|Counties in England - Information
on all English counties with places to see and things to do in those counties. Tourist attractions in major towns, wedding venues, places to afternoon tea and caravans.