Tiny burning candles

Today is my birthday.

The funniest thing about being born on the first day of March is that every so often, it may not actually be your birthday. For example, next year the month of February will have 29 days instead of the usual 28; so if you’re a person who does not pay attention to calendars, you may wake up expecting presents a day early.

Some children have trouble grasping the concept of a leap year; I should know, because this happened to me in 1992.

I awoke on February 29th expecting a Super Nintendo, not realizing that 1992 was a leap year. When I awoke on March 1st, my correct birthday, I received a box full of books.

Many of you may already know that story.

But this story is not about toys, or boxes or books; it’s about candles. Specifically, the candles that sit atop a birthday cake, which are traditionally blown out by the birthday boy or girl. It is believed that the custom of placing candles on a birthday cake was started by early Greeks who used to place candles on the cake that they offered to Artemis – the Goddess of Moon. Lit candles made their round shape cake glow – similar to the moon.

The Germans would later perfect the art of candle making and stick one huge candle in the center of their birthday cakes; this singular candle came to be known as the ‘light of life’.

This year, I am thankful for the special people in my life who have made each candle on my cake burn that much brighter.

They say opposite of birth is death, and the opposite of being born is being buried; between these extremes awaits life: a multi-colored cake topped with tiny burning candles.

Since none of us can predict how many candles will crown our final cake, the best we can do is take a deep breath, make a wish, and blow as hard as humanly possible.

Leave a Reply