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British Life and Culture

by Mandy Barrow

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British life and culture - England, Scotland and Wales
How do children celebrate birthdays in England?

We look forward to our birthdays for 364 days a year!
We invite special people to celebrate with us.

The Presents

Presents are opened as soon as the children are awake. They can't wait for the birthday cake later in the day!

The Cards

Friends and family send birthday cards. Sending birthday cards is a custom that began in England about 100 years ago.

The Party

The birthday child will have a party to which friends and family are invited. Visitors to the party bring presents for the birthday child. The children play games such as musical chairs and pass the parcel.

The Cake

The birthday cake is decorated on a theme. A candle for each year is lit and placed on top and the child blows out the candles making a wish. We don't put objects inside the cake as stated on many websites.

The Bumps

It used to be traditional for the birthday child to have the bumps. Friends would hold the child by the legs and under the arms and lift the child up and down bumping them gently on the ground. The number of bumps given is the age of the child plus one for extra good luck. As this can be dangerous, clapping is often done instead.

School / Work

Some children do take sweets into school to share with their classmates on their birthdays. Adults also take cakes into their work place to celebrate their birthdays.

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All the materials on these pages are free for homework and classroom use only. You may not redistribute, sell or place the content of this page on any other website or blog without written permission from the Mandy Barrow.

© Copyright Mandy Barrow 2014

Mandy is the creator of the Woodlands Resources section of the Woodlands Junior website. 
The two websites and are the new homes for the Woodlands Resources.

Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consultant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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