The Romans were the first to bake birthday cakes, and they weren’t made for just anyone. These cakes, made of flour, nuts, yeast, and honey, we made to celebrate only if the birthday was a famous citizen’s and they were male. According to Food and Wine, women’s birthdays weren’t celebrated until the 12th century. However, while Romans were the first to bake cakes, Ancient Greeks were the first to adorn the cake with candles (via Mashed).
The Ancient Greeks saw the round cake as a symbol of the moon and put candles on cakes as gifts to their goddess Artemis, who ruled the moon. According to How Stuff Works, “Some historians think the candles were used simply to lend the cake a moon-like glow. Others think that when the candles were blown out, their smoke was supposed to carry the birthday man’s or woman’s wishes skyward to the goddess.”
Whatever the case, you can now thank the Greeks next time your birthday wish comes true.