Do Jews place candles on birthday cakes and blow them out?


Candles are nice. But some trace the custom of placing candles on a birthday cake to the ancient Greek practice of celebrating the birthday of one of the pagan gods, as reported by Philchorus

At any rate, if you do put them there, why blow them out? On our birthday we celebrate the continuation of life. Each year we grow stronger, both physically and spiritually. In Jewish symbolism, a candle represents the soul of man (as you can read in The Candle), and the last thing we want to do on a day that we celebrate life is to snuff it out.

Happy birthday!

Rabbi Eliezer Zalmanov