Not Just Cake: Birthday Food Traditions Around the World

If there’s a universal symbol for birthdays, it’s probably cake. But, all around the world, there are many different foods prepared for this celebration aside from the sweet treat – and not all of them are desserts. Here’s a rundown of the various snacks and dishes served on this special occasion:

South Korea: Seaweed Soup

When a Korean woman gives birth, her loved onesprepare Miyeok-guk or seaweed soup as part of her first postpartum meal. This healthy dish has iron and iodine that helps replenish the blood that was lost during childbirth.

Korean culture is based on Confucianism, so they also practice the value of filial piety, which teaches children to love and honor their parents. So, a child eats miyeok-guk on their birthdays as a sign of respect and a way of giving thanks to their mother.

Russia: Personalized Pie

Most people write dedications on cakes for the big day. They also do this in Russia, but instead of the baked goodie, they prefer double-crusted pies for the occasion. Thebirthday greetingsare carved on them. They fill the personalized dessert with the celebrant’s favorite flavors, be it meat or fruit-based.

Pies are a big part of their culture, and the food has been popular among Russians since 1700. Miner’s wives would make pirozhkisince it was easy to bring for lunch. It has decorations made by hand, as a reminder of love as their husbands toiled dangerously underground. The significanceof the classic pastry has evolved ever since.

China: Longevity Noodles

Noodles are popular party food in many parts of Asia. And, in China, they have a special kind called shòumiàn. It’s believed to bring long life, but only if you slurp them whole. Biting a part of it means bad luck.

There are many versions of its origins. But, according to some chronicles, the tradition of eating longevity noodles started during the Han Dynasty. The emperor at that time believed that having a long face means living hundreds of years. The word “face” and “noodles” are both pronounced as miàn in Chinese, so a saying that goes “a long face is long noodles” came out.

There you have it. The next time you go to one of the best birthday party venues in Cumming GA, don’t be surprised to see these dishes, especially if you have a foreign friend. Cakes with candles are only one way to celebrate the special occasion!


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