Happy Birthday!

Clarke, our hard-working president at Nomen Global who has been at this English school for over 14 years, is having a birthday this weekend! We thought we'd take a look at a few of the American traditions associated with these special days.

To celebrate a birthday, most Americans have a party with friends and family. Most celebrators send out decorated invitations in the mail, or more recently, through Facebook. Traditionally, guests invited to the party bring a gift for the person, but this is not usually necessary for older birthday celebrators.

In the United States, a birthday isn't complete without some sort of celebratory confection. Most people choose from a variety of different flavored cakes and frostings. The most important part of a birthday cake, however, is the candles on top. The number of candles represents the age that the person is turning. For example, if someone is turning 25, there would be 25 candles on top of the cake. After the all the candles are lit, everyone sings the famous "Happy Birthday" song. The person who has a birthday then makes a wish (without telling anyone!) and blows out the candles. If all the candles go out in one breath, legend says that the wish will come true!

The most well-known song in the English language is "Happy Birthday." This song was written in 1893 by Mildred and Patty Hill. The two sisters were school teachers in Kentucky. As an accomplished musician, Mildred wrote the tune and her sister, Patty, wrote the lyrics to a simple song to greet their students:
"Good morning to you,
Good morning to you,
Good morning, dear children,
Good morning to all."
After about 30 years, the lyrics were anonymously changed to the ever-popular
"Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday to you,
Happy birthday, dear ______,
Happy birthday to you."

Visit Randall's Cyber Listening Lab for some fun listening practice on birthdays (easy) and sending invitations (medium difficulty).

To learn more about Nomen Global, visit our website.

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