Birthdays needn’t just be the same old routine of opening a few birthday cards, shaking the envelope in the hopes of a few quid falling out, having a “special” breakfast and then getting on with the day before going out for a family meal at your local harvester. Depressing! No, there are a whole world of fun, unusual and exciting traditions to take on board.

Let’s have a look at some of the best birthday traditions from around the globe:


Yes, we have birthday traditions, no they aren’t gentle cuddles and kisses, it’s the inexplicably violent tradition of ‘the bumps’. When it’s a child’s birthday, grab them by the ankles, turn them upside down and ‘bump’ them on the floor once for each year. Thankfully this tradition tends to stop when the child gets too heavy to lift otherwise life may not begin at 40.


In Canada brightly coloured birthday cakes are served. Nothing unusual there, however, in between the layers one lucky person might find a wrapped coin. The finder of the coin gets first go at all the party games.


Israeli birthdays are celebrated by giving the birthday boy or girl a crown of leaves or flowers, they sit centre stage as guests dance around singing to them. They are then lifted up above the crowd as the celebration continues.


Vietnamese people don’t celebrate on their date of birth, in fact many Vietnamese people may not even know their birthday, instead everyone celebrates on new year’s day, this is called Tet. Each year children are congratulated on becoming a year older by being given lucky red envelopes stuffed with money.


In Russia children are given gifts on their birthday by teachers and classmates, it may just be small gifts such as pencils or school books but they are well received. Instead of a birthday cake, a pie is baked in honour of the birthday girl or boy.


Ecuadorians have two birthdays, the day of their birth and the saint’s day they are named after. Their birth date is a small affair with maybe only a birthday card or phone call to celebrate, their saint’s day however is an all-out party day, cake is served and presents given. Imagine this being the case at home, maybe two birthdays shouldn’t be just for the Queen.


In a tradition that is fast becoming commonplace in the US and the UK Mexican children celebrate birthdays with a Piñata, traditionally shaped like a animal though more recently popular icons such as cartoon characters. The piñata is stuffed with sweets, small toys and treats, it is then suspended from the ceiling where each child is blindfolded and tries to break it open by smashing it to pieces. Piñatas are a great fun alternative to party bags, just make sure any breakables are kept well out of swinging range.

There are as many birthday traditions around the world as there are countries, some of these may bring an extra bit of excitement to your next birthday bash, why not try some or even tweak a couple to come up with your own brand new birthday tradition.

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