Erik Nitsche: Happy Birthday
Artist: Erik Nitsche
Anyway you say it -- Feliz Cumpleanos (Spanish), Frohlicher Geburtstag (German) or Tanjobi Omedeto (Japanese) -- it means "Happy Birthday to you!" Around the world people celebrate their birthdays. Many countries have their own distinctive customs for honoring this very special day. Celebrations of children's birthdays kinderfeste, began in Germany about 200 years ago with the placing of candles on birthday cakes to reflect the child's age. There the belief was founded that blowing out all the candles with one breath would make a wish come true. Around the same time, the practice of giving spankings to the birthday celebrant for good luck was started. One spanking for each year of the child's life was delivered, along with one to grow on, one to live on, one to eat on, one to be happy on, and one to get married on. In 1893, two American sisters, Mildred and Patty Hill, wrote the song Happy Birthday to You which became a huge hit all over the world. Today it lends a festive air to birthday celebrations in many different countries. Sometimes people are unable to attend birthday celebrations but want to make their good wishes known. About 100 years ago the custom of sending birthday cards began in England. Today millions of birthday cards spreading good cheer are sent around the world each year.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for the U.S. 34¢ Happy Birthday stamp issued February 8, 2002.
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