Birthdays! Arts & Crafts ~ Medieval Style and Phrases & their Origins

Good eventide to you all!

Last week I combined Arts & Crafts ~ Medieval Style and Phrases and Their Origins because I was going on a mini-vacation and wouldn’t be available to do the Thursday blog.  Today I’m going to do the same simply because I found two that flowed so nicely together I just couldn’t resist!

Birthdays.  We all have them and with mine being today it got me to wondering how they were celebrated in the Middle Ages.  I must admit I was unable to find very much so if you have some information please share.  I did find that before Christianity the Pagans believed evil spirits would come and cause awful things to happen on one’s birthday.  To protect the birthday person family and friends would visit and have a party with lots of noise.  The noise would scare away the evil spirits.  Gifts during this time usually weren’t part of the celebration.  As time went on it is believed that birthday celebrations as we know them were held but on a much quieter scale than most of ours today.  Except in the case of royalty and nobility because they had the money to entertain guests. 

Birthday cakes.  There are records of the early Greeks taking a round and/or mooned shaped cake to the temple of Artemis—the goddess of the moon—to honor her.   And yes, there were candles on the cake.  These same Greeks would include candles to make it shine like the moon. 

For today’s Arts & Crafts ~ Medieval Style I invite you to indulge (whether it’s your birthday or not) and make your favorite birthday cake.  And whatever you do don’t pay attention to the saying “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.” because in this case you most certainly can. 

But, when it comes to the true origin of the phrase I’m afraid you’re out of luck.  You see, the phrase is a proverb that was written by John Heywood in 1546 in his book of proverbs and his meaning is “One can’t use something up and still have it to enjoy.”  Which makes perfect sense when you think about it, doesn’t it?

 Enjoy! from your Faithful Scribe, Linda
Publisher of

3 Responses to “Birthdays! Arts & Crafts ~ Medieval Style and Phrases & their Origins”

  1. Miriam Walker Says:

    Linda, your site is fantastic. I’m so glad The Medieval Chronicle lives on!Write to me when you get a chance and let’s catch up.

  2. Nela Leja Says:

    Belated happy birthday, Linda
    co-incidentally on what would have been my 40th wedding anniversary if I had stayed married.
    This is what my research shows re: birthdays:
    Because August was particularly sacred to the Goddess who gave life, the Scots considered it a propitious month to be born. August gave Gifted Children. For a Scot to say someone was born in August was not a reference to a real birthdya but rather a complement to a ‘well-skilled’ person.
    (so, I know you are not Scots, neither am I, but I am saying you were born in August, Linda, in the Scottish way — and keep plugging away at your new job, you’lll beat it yet)

    • themedievalchronicle Says:

      Thx for the b-day wishes!
      Actually, I am Scottish–on my mother’s side. I’m of the Elliott clan. Border Reivers they were and on the not-so-nice side of the law. Okay, guess I should ‘get real’ here. They were considered one of the worst clans in the Borders. I hadn’t heard about August children so thank you for enlightening me. And thx, too, for the kind complement. Linda

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