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Victorian Era Birthdays: Celebration styles

Victorian era birthday celebrations were extraordinary, classic, extravagant and amusing just like the Victorian era. It was a tradition to mix symbolic objects into the birthday cake as it is being prepared, objects such as coins and thimbles were mixed into the batter. People believed that the person who got the coin would be wealthy, while the unlucky finder of the thimble would never marry.

Victorian Era Birthdays
Victorian Era Birthday

Also, when it’s your birthday, your friends give you the “bumps” which is when they lift you in the air by your hands and feet and raise you up and down to the floor, one for each year, then one for luck, two for luck and three for the old man’s coconut. They usually also drank “squash” which is an orange or lemon flavored drink made from syrup (rather than a powder).

Along with the celebrations, there was another tradition that was followed the one in which the individual was being given the key to the house and this was considered an important sign of the coming age in England. This took place when someone turned twenty-one. The young man who was given the key to the house is said to be given permission to come and go as he pleases and to stay out as late he liked.

Also sending birthday cards was a custom that began in England about 100 years ago. Today, millions of cards are sent around the world each year to wish family and friends a happy birthday and to an extent the same birthday tradition is followed even today.