Birthday tradition ideas

Hands with rolling pin, baking

 

Is there anything better than celebrating your loved one’s special day? From finding the perfect presents to lighting the candles on top of the cake, we all have favorite ways to create memorable celebrations for our kids, friends, spouses and parents. But if you’re looking for a new way to honor someone special, why not look for inspiration from some of the time-honored traditions around the world? Here are seven totally sweet ways to start your own unique birthday traditions.

1. Reimagining the clothesline

In Russia, adults hang small wrapped gifts from a clothesline as a party favor. Why not remake it into a tradition of your own? For example, consider all the birthday person’s favorite things — eateries, activities, shops and destination — and add a handwritten certificate for each of those things as unusual gifts with special meaning or promises of experiences you can enjoy together even after the date has passed.

2. Group party!

Let’s face it — sometimes it can be extremely challenging to get everyone together to celebrate a special birthday. Maybe the Vietnamese have it right! In Vietnam, kids and adults all celebrate their birthdays on the same day on the calendar no matter what their actual birth date may be. This day, called “Tet” in Vietnam is also the beginning of the New Year. Check with your friends and family, schedule the date and celebrate your own special Tet in honor of everyone’s birthdays as one of your new birthday traditions for adults in your circle. After all, sometimes the gift of time spent together is the best gift of all.

group of friends eating

3. Create a menu for longevity

No matter what your age, living a long and happy life is always one of the wishes that birthday folks make before they blow out the candles on their cake. In China, parents serve long noodles to kids on their birthdays as a symbol of a long life. Take that practice and make it your own by creating you own birthday traditions with a meal that includes long, slurpable noodles topped with the flavors that your special birthday gal or guy loves.

noodles

4. Treat yourself

Practice a little self-love, Japanese style every year on your birthday. In Japan, it’s traditional to dress up in new clothing on your birthday. So why not make it a birthday gift tradition by year and treat yourself to a shopping spree and put on some new threads and doing something nice just for you on your own birthday?

5. Treat others

To celebrate their birthdays in India, kids often give presents to other people. Riff on that concept and create a tradition every year of volunteering for an organization that’s near and dear to your heart, holding a benefit party for charity or doing something super nice for someone special in your life.

plastic picking volunteers

6. Cake is overrated

Birthday cake is delicious, but why not start the day off right like the good folks in Holland or Australia? In Holland, no birthday is complete without a stack of pancakes dusted with powdered sugar. And in Australia, the big birthday treat is fairy bread — bread slathered in butter and topped with colorful sprinkles.

pancakes

7. Making milestone birthdays fun

Once you’ve hit middle age, birthdays often start having a negative connotation to some people. Skip all that “over the hill” talk; after all, 40th birthday ideas don’t have to center on how old the birthday gal or guy is getting. Instead, celebrate his or her accomplishment thus far. Begin your own tradition for marking milestones in your circle. One example of 40th birthday ideas that could really work for any milestone includes creating handwritten notes for the guest of honor detailing the ways that the person makes the writer’s life better. Or, if the writer is older than the birthday person, the notes could include advice and lessons learned for the upcoming decade.

Whether you celebrate with heartfelt birthday cards, special gifts, or shared experiences, creating your own birthday traditions allows you to put your personal stamp on global customs.