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birthday cake candles


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The now ubiquitous custom of presenting a cake with burning candles to someone on their birthday—with their age symbolized by the number of candles—appears to be relatively new to England. Several British correspondents in N&Q in 1902 describe the custom as common in Germany, and one mentions it as practised in the USA, but they make it clear that the custom was unknown to them in this country.

N&Q 9s:8 (1901), 344–5, 486–7;9s:9 (1901), 96.


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