The Gifted Blog

January 16, 2013

Birthday Celebrations in Germany

Big N's old preschool teacher is a SoCal native, but as a young woman fell in love with a handsome French-German student studying here in Pasadena. (Fun fact for locals: they were introduced by her Francophile art school friend who met him at Vroman's.) They eventually married and moved to Germany. We were lucky to have her as N's preschool teacher when her family returned to California for a time.

When she had to go back, we had her over for a little farewell lunch. As we chatted about the life they would return to in Germany, she mentioned some interesting things about how birthdays are celebrated there.

First, she said that birthdays are a big deal in Germany - not just for children, but adults, too. An adult friend would be hurt if you didn't call to wish them a happy birthday.

Second, if you go out to celebrate someone's birthday, it's always the birthday person's treat. It won't work to try to pick up the tab.

I did a little internet search and found a couple mentions of another custom: birthdays are never celebrated before the actual date. It is considered bad luck to wish someone a happy birthday before their birthday, much less give them a present or card. (Does anyone know why? I'm curious now.)

I loved hearing these tidbits about how birthdays are celebrated in another culture. Do you have a fun fact to share about birthday customs in your (or another) country? Do tell!

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{Image by Rachel of Heart of Light}


  1. Very interesting to hear about German b-day customs. In our house, only the kids get any real to-do for birthdays. We adults don't really do much at all, maybe a cake but not always.

  2. I'm from Portugal and I've always heard people say it's bad luck to wish someone a Happy Birthday before the day.


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