Home Bible Study Occult Origins of Birthday Celebrations and Traditions

Occult Origins of Birthday Celebrations and Traditions

Occult Origins of Birthday Celebrations and Traditions

Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

DEFINITION: “Judicial [to judge or decide] astrology–more important branch of this occult art–depended for its predictions upon the position of the planets in the “twelve houses” at the moment of the birth of a human being. The calculations necessary to settle these positions were casting the horoscope or the diagram of the heavens (thema coeli) at the nativity.”  “From the start astrology was employed for the needs and benefit of daily life …  in connection withreligious worship. According to the belief of the early civilized races of the East, the stars were the source and at the same time the heralds of everything that happened, and the right to study the “godlike science” of astrology was a privilege of the priesthood. This was the case in Mesopotamia and Egypt, the oldest centres of civilization known to us in the East.” – New Advent, Catholic Encyclopedia (online)

 “Birthdays are intimately linked with the stars, since without the calendar, no one could tell when to celebrate his birthday. They are also indebted to the stars in another way, for in early days the chief importance of birthday records was to enable the astrologers to chart horoscopes” (The Lore of Birthdays, p. 53).

Linda Rannells Lewis in Birthdays, “Birthdays have been celebrated for thousands of years. In early civilizations, where the development of a calendar made an organized reckoning of birth dates possible, the horoscopes of ruling monarchs, their successors and rivals had to be cast with care and birthday omensmeticulously examined, for the prospects of the mighty would affect the prospects of the entire society.”

Rawlinson’s translation of Herodotus includes the following footnote: “Horoscopes were of very early use in Egypt… and Cicero speaks of the Egyptians and Chaldees predicting… a man’s destiny at his birth”…

Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend :  “The date, hour, and place of birth may be the clues to good or bad fortune as determined by the complex computations of astrologers, numerologists, and geomants. Prudential ceremonies either at birth or at stated anniversaries,depending on the system of computation, are good insurance. Memorial services, or sacrifices at tombs or before ancestral tablets, are in some places customary on the birthdays of the deceased. The function is a mixture of natural affection, the desire to keep the deceased at peace and therefore to keep his ghost from troubling the living”. — Page 144.

Astrology is a pagan practice condemned by the Creator God because it provokes Him to jealousy. We should turn to him with all our questions, desires and longings – not signs in the stars, witches, psychics or other false gods.

Isaiah 47:13-14 Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee. Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor fire to sit before it.


Wikipedia under the heading of “birthday” -“It is thought that the large-scale celebration of birthdays in Europe began with the cult of Mithras, which originated in Persia but was spread by soldiers throughout the Roman Empire. Before this, such celebrations were not common; and, hence, practices from other contexts such as the Saturnalia were adapted for birthdays. Because many Roman soldiers took to Mithraism, it had a wide distribution and influence throughout the empire until it was supplanted by Christianity.” [Authors Note: Saturnalia trappings included decorations, gifting, prayers or wishes to false gods.]

“Long ago, people believed that on a birthday a person could be helped by good spirits or hurt by evil spirits. So, when a person had a birthday, friends and relatives gathered to protect him or her. And that’s how birthday parties began. (World Book-Childcraft International, Inc., Childcraft, The How and Why Library: Holidays and Birthdays, 1982, Vol. 9, pp. 12-13)

“The exchange of presents… is associated with the importance of ingratiating good and evil fairies… on their or our birthdays” (Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend, p. 144)..

“The various customs with which people today celebrate their birthdays have a long history. Their origins lie in the realm of magic and religion. The customs of offering congratulations, presenting gifts and celebrating—complete with lighted candles—in ancient times were meant to protect the birthday celebrant from the demons and to ensure his security for the coming year. …Down to the fourth century Christianity rejected the birthday celebration as a pagan custom.”—Schwäbische Zeitung (magazine supplement Zeit und Welt), April 3/4, 1981, p. 4.

Certain primitive societies view birthdays as danger periods when one is susceptible to attack by evil spirits. Hence, parties and good wishes of friends, bring giftsto appease the evil spirits, and offering sacrifices to “their protective spirits” are all part of the birthday celebration.” (Funk & Wagnalls Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology and Legend, Vol. One, p. 144)


The idea of putting candles on birthday cakes goes back to ancient Greece.  … The Greeks worshipped many gods and goddesses. Among them was one called Artemis. Artemis was the goddess of the moon. The Greeks celebrated her birthday once each month by bringing special cakes to her temple. The cakes were round, like a full moon. And, because the moon glows with light, the cakes were decorated with lighted candles.” (World Book-Childcraft International, Inc., Childcraft, The How and Why Library: Holidays and Birthdays, 1982, Vol. 9, pp. 12-13)

Ralph and Adelin Linton, The Lore of Birthdays, 1953, pp. 17, 26, 28, 51-52: “The custom of lighted candles on the cakes started with the Greeks. Philochonus records that on the sixth day of each month, the birthday of Artemis, goddess of the moon and the hunt, honey cakes round as the moon and lit with tapers were placed on the temple altars of this goddess.”

The Greeks believed that everyone had a protective spirit or daemon who attended his birth and watched over him in life. This spirit had a mystic relation with the god on whose birthday the individual was born. The Romans also subscribed to this idea. . . . This notion was carried down in human belief and is reflected in the guardian angel, the fairy godmother and the patron saint. . . . The custom of lighted candles on the cakes started with the Greeks. . . . Honey cakes round as the moon and lit with tapers were placed on the temple altars of [Artemis]. . . . Birthday candles, in folk belief, are endowed with special magic for granting wishes. . . . Lighted tapers and sacrificial fires have had a special mystic significance ever since man first set up altars to his gods. The birthday candles are thus an honor and tribute to the birthday child and bring good fortune. . . . ” (The Lore of Birthdays (New York, 1952), Ralph and Adelin Linton, pp. 8, 18-20.)

 “One of the simplest of magical arts which comes under the heading of natural magic is candle burning. … Most of us have performed our first act of candle magic by the time we are two years old.  Blowing out the tiny candles on our first birthday cake and making a wish is pure magic.  This childhood custom is based on the three magical principals of concentration, will power and visualization. In simple terms, the child who wants his wish to come true has to concentrate (blow out the candles), visualize the end result (make a wish) and hope that it will come true (will power).” – (The Internet Book of Shadows: Candle Magic)


Originally the idea was rooted in magic. The working of spells for good and evil is the chief usage of witchcraft. One is especially susceptible to such spells on his birthday, as one’s personal spirits are about at that time. Dreams dreamed on the birthday eve should be remembered, for they are predictions of the future brought by theguardian spirits which hover over one’s bed on the birthday eve. Birthday greetings have power for good or ill because one is closer to the spirit world on this day. Good wishes bring good fortune, but the reverse is also true, so one should avoid enemies on one’s birthday and be surrounded only by well-wishers. ‘Happy birthday’ and ‘Many happy returns of the day’ are the traditional greetings” (The Lore of Birthdays, Linton, p. 20)…

The Lore of Birthdays continues: “Birthday candles, in folk belief, are endowed with special magic for granting wishes. There are various ways of invoking their spell. Sometimes the birthday child makes a wish (these wishes must never be spoken aloud or the magic fails), and if he can blow out all the candles on his cake with one puff, the wish is sure to come true.”

Funk & Wagnalls Standard Dictionary of Folklore, Mythology, and Legend : Among people with well developed sense of time, BIRTHDAYS mark the transition from one stage of being to another. Because any change is dangerous, BIRTHDAYS are the times when good and evil spirits and influences have the opportunity to attack the celebrants who at these times are in peril….The presence of friends and the expression of good wishes help to protect the celebrant against the unknown pervasive peril. Ceremonies and games at BIRTHDAYS frequently are a SYMBOLIC wiping out of the past and starting anew. The American child who at his BIRTHDAY blows out all the candles on his cake with one puff is eager to demonstrate his prowess, but the secret wish he makes will be granted only if all the candles can be extinguished at once. Trials of strength and skill on birthdays are demonstrations of progress….


The wishes over a birthday cake are said to be granted by your personal genie (genii or djinn). The additional connection of the birthday to these characters should be poignant to the reader.

E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898. Ge’nius, Genii (Roman mythology) were attendant spirits. Everyone had two of these tutelaries from his cradle to his grave. But the Roman genii differ in many respects from the Eastern. The Persian and Indian genii had a corporeal form, which they could change at pleasure. They were not guardian or attendant spirits, but fallen angels, dwelling in Ginnistan, under the dominion of Eblis [Author Note: Eblis is the Islamic version of the Devil]. They were naturally hostile to man, though compelled sometimes to serve them as slaves. … (The word is the old Latin geno, to be born, from the notion that birth and life were due to these dii genitáles.)   Genius (birth-wit) is innate talent; hence propensity, nature, inner man. “Cras genium mero cura’bis” (to-morrow you shall indulge your inner man with wine), Horace, 3 Odes, xvii. 14. “Indulg’ere genio” (to give loose to one’s propensity), Persius, v. 151. …  The Romans maintained that two genii attended every man from birth to death—one good and the other evil. Good luck was brought about by the agency of “his good genius,” and ill luck by that of his “evil genius.”

At the moment when each of us receives life and being, he is taken in charge by the genii who preside over births, and who are classed beneath the astral powers. … But the reasonable part of the soul is not subject to the genii; it is designed for the reception of God, who enlightens it with a sunny ray. Those who are thus illumined are few in number, and from them the genii abstain; for neither genii nor gods have any power in the presence of a single ray of God. But all other men, both soul and body, are directed by genii, to whom they cleave, and whose operations they affect. But reason is not like desire, which deceives and misleads. The genii, then, have the control of mundane things, and our bodies serve them as instruments. Now, it is this control which Hermes calls Destiny.”  [The esoteric book: “The Virgin of the World of Hermes” THE DEFINITIONS OF ASCLEPIOS by Mercurius Trismagistus translated by A. Kingsford, E Maitland [1884] ]

The man or woman who fears YHWH should pay attention to the following quote by reknowned Satanist, founder and High Priest of the Church of Satan and author of the Satanic Bible – Anton Szandor LaVey.

The highest of all holidays in the Satanic religion is the date of one’s own birthday. This is in direct contradiction to the holy of holy days of other religions, which deify a particular god who has been created in an anthropomorphic form of their own image, thereby showing that the ego is not really buried.  The Satanist feels: ‘Why not really be honest and if you are going to create a god in your image, why not create that god as yourself.” Every man is a god if he chooses to recognize himself as one. So, the Satanist celebrates his own birthday as the most important holiday of the year. After all, aren’t you happier about the fact that you were born than you are about the birth of someone you have never even met? Or for that matter, aside from religious holidays, why pay higher tribute to the birthday of a president or to a date in history than we do to the day we were brought into this greatest of all worlds?  Despite the fact that some of us may not have been wanted, or at least were not particularly planned, we’re glad, even if no one else is, that we’re here! You should give yourself a pat on the back, buy yourself whatever you want, treat yourself like the king (or god) that you are, and generally celebrate your birthday with as much pomp and ceremony as possible.” [The Satanic Bible (Anton Szandor LaVey, (Air) Book of Lucifer – The Enlightenment, Avon Books, 1969, Ch XI, Religious Holidays, p. 96) regarding Birthdays]

The truth about BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS is that they come from PAGANISM. It is a commonly held fact that the original first century Christians did NOT observe their birthdays with celebrations.

For those in the Church of God (former RCG or WWCG or their off-shoots) movement, that denomination also did teach against observance of birthday celebrations – although its members (including leaders) sometimes departed from that practice personally while teaching the polar opposite from the pulpit.  Others try to claim that since ages of people are counted in the bible that this means they celebrated birthdays – THE PLAIN TRUTH IS THAT THIS IS WRONG. Obviously, the people of the Bible at least noted the date of their birth because Scripture often records their ages. However, there is a huge difference between merely marking a day and celebrating it. The biblical record shows no man or woman of God celebrating a birthday. Clearly, birthday celebrations do not have a God-ordained origin and should be shunned.

What is the spirit of a “birthday celebration”? Does an annual “birthday celebration” give honor to YHWH? Do you answer “well, He made me?” Then give Him honor and be obedient. Do not adopt the pagan customs of the world!