To a child, a birthday party is an absolute joy. This trend continues right up to the long awaited twenty-first birthday. After that, a lot changes. Somewhere between the ages of 25 and 50, many of us would just as soon ignore our birthday. But there's no helping it, no matter how old we get, people are going to insist on making a fuss about our birthdays -- if only out of fear of seriously hurting our feelings if they ignore it. Indeed, as our birthday becomes many multiples of twenty-one, our offspring and/or spouses may insist on making even bigger fusses every year with ever-larger guest lists of friends and relatives. If you've brought them up/trained them properly, bulk orders of wholesale birthday party supplies bought at discount may well be involved. And what's the point of trying to stop them from making those deals? Best to just relax and appreciate a well supplied celebration.
Of course, there are all kinds of birthday parties in this big world of ours, from the most elaborate Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, "coming out" balls, Quinceaneras, and celebrity soirees to the two year-old's 10:00 a.m. shindig at the kiddy park or Chuckie Cheese. (Is there anything so great on a hot summer morning as cake and cheap pizza?) Supplies, too, come in all shapes and sizes. From garden variety festive streamers to banners emblazoned with birthday wishes, candles for cakes (both legitimate and "trick"), and decorative napkins, to giant themed cakes big enough to feed all the poor of Marie Antoinette's France and humongous ice sculptures in the shape of all the Jonas Brothers or Han Solo's Millennium Falcon.
One interesting aspect of looking at traditions surrounding birthday parties and their various trappings is that while a great deal has been written and is known about religious, ethnic, and tribal rites of passage, the history of ordinary birthday parties is vague at best. It's true that Wikipedia states that the tradition of these baked goods goes back at least as far as medieval England, where hosts would hide items like rings, money, and even sewing accessories inside of cakes.
"Each item was associated with a prediction. For example, a person finding a gold coin in a birthday cake would supposedly become wealthy; a person discovering a thimble would never marry."
Still, one little known aspect of the modern birthday party relates to the ubiquitous party supply of all, the song "Happy Birthday to You." Most of us assume it's some kind of ancient folk song whose original writer, if there even was one, is long forgotten. The truth is actually considerably more complicated ? indeed, the authorship of this most universally recognized of all songs has been claimed by more than one entity and is even in some legal dispute, but suffice it to say that some companies in various fields do pay royalties for the use of the song. We think that's the reason so many restaurants have invented their own birthday cheers for their employees to deliver and have been so creative in the use of their own special sorts of wholesale birthday supplies as cheap party hats, elaborate table clothes, toy kazoos and drums, etc. It's cheap compared to paying song royalties and makes customers feel fussed over.
Of course, when you get right down to it, everything that goes with celebrating the passage of another year -- bulk wholesale birthday party supplies and the making of both small and big deals around birthday celebrations -- is a celebration of life. It's a way of showing that we care about friends and family and that every year with them really is special. Decorations, funny hats, special tablecloths are all just one way of showing that the greatest gift of all is another year with the people in our life.
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