Written by Selina

Modified & Updated: 02 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Beautiful birthday cake with burning candles on stand against festive lights

Birthdays are special occasions that celebrate another trip around the sun. While we all enjoy blowing out candles and unwrapping gifts, there are fascinating facts about birthdays that you may not be aware of. From historical trivia to peculiar traditions, here are 20 fascinating birthday facts that add a sprinkle of knowledge to your next birthday celebration.

Table of Contents

The Origin of Birthdays

The tradition of celebrating birthdays started with the ancient Egyptians who believed that when pharaohs were crowned, they became gods. Thus, making their coronation day much more important than their birth into the world.

Greeks Added Candles to Cakes

In ancient times, the Ancient Greeks offered round-shaped cakes to Artemis, the goddess of the moon, as a form of tribute. They lit candles to make the cakes shine like the moon.

Cake shot on a bokeh background with candles.
Image from Adobe Stock

The Most Common Birth Date

In the United States, the most common birth date falls on September 9th, while the least common is on Christmas Day, December 25th.

“Happy Birthday to You” Song

We mostly sing the “Happy Birthday to You” song in English. But did you know that the song was composed by two American sisters, Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill in 1893? The song was initially created as a simple classroom greeting song titled “Good Morning to All. It was later adapted with the lyrics we now associate with birthdays.

Birthday Superstitions

In some cultures, birthdays are tied to superstitions. For example, in Russia, it’s considered bad luck to celebrate a birthday before the actual date. May-born individuals are believed to be lucky in love, while October babies are associated with a long life.

The Sweet Sixteen

In the United States, turning 16, known as the “Sweet Sixteen“, is an important milestone. That is why turning 16 is always a huge event and celebration, signifying the transition into early adulthood.

Quinceañera Celebration

In Latin American cultures, the 15th birthday, or Quinceañera, is a significant celebration marking the transition from childhood to young womanhood.


Each month has a special gemstone associated with it, known as a birthstone. From the shimmering sapphire of September to the radiant ruby of July, birthstones add a touch of personalization to birthday gifts.

A close up of a lot of colorful gemstones. Created with Generative AI
Image from Adobe Stock

Birth Flowers

Just like birthstones, each month has a birth month flower associated with it. And each also has a special meaning.

Zodiac Signs

Based on the position of the sun at the time of your birth, you are assigned one of the 12 zodiac signs. Each sign has its unique traits and characteristics.

The Golden Birthday

The ‘golden’ or ‘lucky’ birthday happens when you turn the age of your birth date. For instance, if you were born on the 20th, your golden birthday is when you turn 20.

Birthday Paradox

The birthday paradox, also known as the birthday problem, refers to the probability that in a group of 23 people, there’s a 50% chance that at least two people have the same birthday. It is known as a paradox because it is counterintuitive and our brains just cannot handle the compounding exponents.

Leap Day Birthdays

People born on February 29th, a date that occurs only every four years, often celebrate their birthdays on February 28th or March 1st in non-leap years. Here is a full list of leap years with the next one coming up in 2024.

29 February Date on Cubes. Date on painted pink wood, next to baby blanket. Theme of baby due dates and birth dates.
Image from Adobe Stock

Birthday Statistics

On average, the U.S. sends more than 2 billion birthday cards each year, making birthdays the largest occasion for sending personal mail.

Royal Birthdays

In the UK, the Queen’s actual birthday is on April 21, but it’s officially celebrated in June with a public event known as “Trooping the Colour”. Also, royals are given the day off on their birthdays.

Birthday Celebrations in North Korea

In North Korea, birthdays are not celebrated on July 8 and December 17 as these are the death dates of former leaders Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. However, they do celebrate birthdays as we do – cake, candles, gifts, and wishes.

The Initial Birthday Milestone

In numerous societies worldwide, a child’s inaugural birthday is perceived as an important landmark. Hence, it is typically commemorated with grandeur and fanfare.

Birthday Meals

In many cultures, there are specific meals or dishes reserved just for birthdays. For example, in China, a common birthday meal is a type of long noodle known as “longevity noodles,” symbolizing long life. In Korea, they celebrate birthdays by drinking seaweed soup. Seaweed soup is a traditional dish that mothers often prepare, and having it on birthdays is a symbol of filial piety and a way to honor and thank one’s parents.

Portrait of big African-American family celebrating birthday
Image from Adobe Stock

The World’s Longest Birthday Cake

The world’s longest birthday cake currently measures 5,300 m (17,388 ft). This was achieved by the Bakers Association Kerala (India) at Thrissur, Kerala, India, on 15 January 2020.

Turning 100 in the UK

In the UK, when a person reaches 100 years old, they receive a personalized card from the Queen, marking their incredible milestone. And here’s a quick fun fact: the oldest recorded person to have ever lived was Jeanne Calment from France, who lived for a jaw-dropping 122 years and 164 days!

Was this page helpful?

Our commitment to delivering trustworthy and engaging content is at the heart of what we do. Each fact on our site is contributed by real users like you, bringing a wealth of diverse insights and information. To ensure the highest standards of accuracy and reliability, our dedicated editors meticulously review each submission. This process guarantees that the facts we share are not only fascinating but also credible. Trust in our commitment to quality and authenticity as you explore and learn with us.