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Birthday traditions make every birthday memorable and fun. Traditions for birthdays vary from family to family and friend to friend, but many cultures experience similar celebrations. Almost every culture in the world celebrates birthdays in a way to make the guest of honor feel special and cared for. Below are five common birthday traditions from around the globe.


Real sugar, whether granulated or powdered, plays a vital role in providing a sweet treat for birthday celebrations all over the world. For more information on how different countries, such as, China, France, and Japan, celebrate using baked goods on their birthdays, refer to the Bearthday Celebrations lesson plan designed by Elizabeth Hagan and featured on the Home Bake Association website.

This blog is the second in a three-part blog series on birthday celebrations. Click to read about the history and presentation of birthday cakes.


This blog is an excerpt from Elizabeth Hagan’s lesson plan Bearthday Celebrations, which was awarded and produced by the Home Baking Association, that teaches the sweet history and traditions relating to birthdays while incorporating food photography and presentation. In response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, millions of Americans were staying in, baking at home, and celebrating birthdays alone; so, this lesson gives students the opportunity to bake, celebrate, and experience multicultural foods, all while staying home.

The lesson meets the following objectives using a 5-day plan:

  1. Briefly explain the history of birthday celebrations and cakes
  2. Identify and describe birthday traditions celebrated in various countries and cultures around the world
  3. Research and select a baked birthday dessert to prepare and plate in an aesthetically pleasing way
  4. Photograph and describe the birthday traditions to peers
  5. Prepare a baked birthday dessert for family member or friend for their birthday
  6. Form connections with others during the pandemic, using a baked good

About the Author

Elizabeth Hagan is a high school Family and Consumer Sciences teacher at Kuemper Catholic School in Carroll, Iowa. She received the Home Baking Association’s Educator Award in 2021 for her “Bearthday Cakes Around the World” lesson plan and was an honorable mention in 2020 for her lesson “Sugar Detectives.”


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