1. swanpride
    June 3, 2014 @ 2:16 pm

    Concerning the candle question: There are some people who put candles on their birthday cake, but usually you have something like this: http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51CMqX9VmEL.jpg

    It’s hard to see on the picture, but they are wooden circles for the candles…not counting the thick one in the middle, there are up to three of those circles. You don’t always use all of them (for example, if you child becomes six, you use the smallest circle which fits exactly six candles…next year, you use the next bigger one, so that you can do a circle with seven (the holder not needed are just left empty). At one point, you’ll stop using candle circles for the simple reason that you get to old too have one candle for every year.

    I am not sure how widespread it is, but we have an “extra candle” the so called “Lebenslicht” (live light). That is either the thick candle in the middle of the circle, or an extra candle put in front of the number of your year. That is a tradition which is normally kept up with no matter how old you become.

    So yes, there are candles…we just don’t put them necessarily on the cake, because we consider it highly impractical (who wants way drippings on your chocolate?).

  2. Luna
    June 19, 2012 @ 1:55 am

    Just some comments from a native German:
    * Yes, please do not wish us a “Happy Birthday” before it’s our actual birthday. It’s considered bad luck.

    * “THE” birthday cake doesn’t exist. Pretty much any cake that you like can be your birthday cake. I have the same one every year since I was little; others like a different cake each year. We do have birthday candles, but at a certain age you really don’t want to start a bond fire on your cake..

    * You bring something to work (or soccer team, school, book club, etc.) for your birthday. We call it “Einen ausgeben.”

    * Whereas Americans find it weird that you host your own party, we don’t wait for someone to throw us one. 😉 We invite our friends to celebrate our birthday with us and as good hosts we provide food (cake if it’s for coffee time or snacks or meal-like items in the evening) and drinks. It’s okay to ask your close friends to bring a cake or salad for a larger party and thus help you out with preparation.

    * “Runde Geburtstage” (30, 40, …) usually call for a BIG party.

    • Andrew
      June 20, 2012 @ 7:52 pm

      Thanks for the confirmation on so many of those points. I report what I see and experience, but I have sometimes a limited view of just my region.

  3. Perry
    May 4, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

    Almost all adult cakes here in the Us I have seen don’t have candles. Every German B-day cake for kids I have ever seen has candles.

    • Andrew
      May 7, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

      Ok, so maybe it really is an age thing and not much to do with culture.

  4. Tanja
    April 26, 2012 @ 7:35 pm

    Now, how many birthdays have you celebrated in Germany? And in how many different areas of Germany?
    First of all, there are candles on cakes, but just as here, that is mostly for kids. Almost all adult cakes here in the Us I have seen don’t have candles. Every German B-day cake for kids I have ever seen has candles.

    I mean, are all Americans fat and eat burgers and fries 24-7???

    • Andrew
      April 28, 2012 @ 5:35 pm

      I’m up to 4 birthdays here. I never thought that birthday traditions are different in other pars of Germany. Do you know of some?

      Yeah, I also haven’t done children birthdays in Germany either, but you are right I have seen birthday candles for them as well. I usually see a few candles on an adult birthday cake. The big difference is about the cake itself.

  5. A Montrealer Abroad
    April 26, 2012 @ 1:05 pm

    But this birthday cake looks so sad! 🙁 It looks like a regular dessert. I definitely prefer the North American way of celebrating a birthday – but hey, it is Germany. 😉

    • Andrew
      April 28, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

      That isn’t really birthday cake in Germany either. I didn’t have many pictures of any type of cake. That specific piece is just an afternoon cake in Cologne, though very similar to what gets brought to work on birthdays.

  6. Jeremy Branham
    April 26, 2012 @ 4:38 am

    I admit I like someone to tell me Happy Birthday. In Germany, I couldn’t afford to celebrate though. To be completely honest, I think we have this backwards in the US as well. Germans are a little closer to getting it right but still a little off. We actually had nothing to do with our birthdays. That was all our mom’s (and dad to a lesser extent) doing. And growing up, we were shaped by our family and friends. Ideally, our birthdays should celebrate those around us for all the people who made a positive impact on our lives.

    • Andrew
      April 26, 2012 @ 8:31 am

      It isn’t that expensive. Especially if you have a group of friends that all do birthdays around the group. Instead of each buying them something on their day, you get them all something on your day.

  7. Jill
    April 26, 2012 @ 4:25 am

    It’s also bad luck to wish a German happy birthday before their actual birthday. Anytime after midnight of the special day is fine. Just don’t wish them happy birthday the day before.

    • Andrew
      April 26, 2012 @ 8:30 am

      Right, I had forgotten that. I had a few early’s this year, so hope it isn’t a problem.

  8. Gillian @OneGiantStep
    April 25, 2012 @ 11:21 pm

    Happy Birthday Andy!!

    • Andrew
      April 26, 2012 @ 8:29 am

      Thanks Gillian.