At the Frampton household, we are preparing for my son’s seventh birthday party. Tomorrow, we will welcome six of his friends to our house for some party games, sandwiches, and ice cream cake (my son doesn’t like traditional cakes–they’re just “bread with frosting.”) Tomorrow night, the Spouse and I will be opening a bottle of wine. Related? You tell me.
Birthdays have been celebrated since the 1st century BCE, although the practice waned and was brought back during the sixteenth century (and some cultures still do not celebrate birthdays, but you can read all about that by following the birthday link).
As I was thinking about birthdays, I thought about Regency period books, and realized I hadn’t read about many birthday celebrations (besides the reigning monarch’s, but that’s a special case), although they must have existed. For the research wonks out there (Amanda? Diane? the rest of the Riskies? Anyone else?), what were the common birthday practices? Did people get presents? Was there cake? Pin the tail on the Prinny?
What birthday traditions do you like? If you were a Regency lady, how would you like to celebrate your special day?
Happy birthday, son of the authoress, good luck with the party and I’d suggest a second bottle.
I’ve had the impression that birthdays weren’t much of a big deal in the Regency, apart from the coming-of-age of an heir, which would be an excuse to give a party to the tenants on the estate with lots of beer and whole roasted oxen etc., with a ball for the gentry. Now I’m trying to think of an example from something I’ve read. (I wrote something along these lines in a ms. so I hope I’m right!)
Nope, sorry, drawing a blank.
If I were a Regency lady and as yet unmarried, I guess I’d see every birthday as one step nearer to wearing a spinster’s cap and retiring to do good works.
Pin the tail on the Prinny?
Definitely not. That game doesn’t work if it’s too easy to hit the target.
Happy Birthday to your son!!! Six boys in your house at once, huh? You are a braver soul than I!
I don’t know of many Regency birthday traditions but my family used to celebreate your name day. As Italians and Catholic everyone is named for a family member and ;consequently’ a saint. When my parents were growing up in Italy your name day was celebrated, as well as your birthday! That’s double the gifts or in my parents’ time a nice orange or nuts were given to you.
BTW, Nov. 1 is my name day…All Saints Day!
I think I need to drink some wine just imagining your son’s birthday bash, Megan! Good luck, and happy birthday to the lucky offspring. 🙂
I don’t know very much about birthdays in the Regency, either, though I’m sure there must be something in this mountain of research books! 🙂 I also have the impression they were no big deal, though you might get some small gifts and maybe a favorite dish at dinner. Or something like that.
Happy birthday to your son, and enjoy the post-celebratory wine!
I haven’t read much about birthdays either. I don’t think they made the fuss over them that we do. The only thing I can remember at the moment is the heroine of REGENCY BUCK getting some presents on hers (which was an important one, as it freed her from the hero who was her guardian).
I hope it was a great party! To up the challenge level, you could always make it “Pin the Tail on Prinny’s Conscience!”