Have you ever wondered how our birthday traditions came to be? The cake, the candles, the hats? It turns out that they are an ancient ritual in honor of a long-forgotten deity – the Birthday Goddess. Her actual name has been lost to time, but we can call her Natalie, and it seems she was a lovely goddess, or at least as lovely as someone with six arms can be. As legend has it, Natalie had the power to grant immortality. All one had to do was honor her once a year on the day of one’s birth with a sacrifice by fire: a birthday cake. Details of the ritual are fuzzy, but it involved preparing one’s very favorite baked good or confection and then setting it ablaze whilst singing a celebratory song. Sounds simple enough, yes?
Well, actually, no. Try as they might to console themselves with cocktails and gifts, apparently the loss of the cake was too much to bear, and the celebrant would often make mad attempts to extinguish the blaze and save it. In fact, it’s thought that hot cake might have been the reason ice cream entered into the birthday equation. Eventually candles proved more conducive to having an edible cake afterwards, and party hats were provided in the event that one’s own hat went up in flames while blowing out the candles. At some point, Natalie threw all six hands up in disgust and departed for a dimension with better prospects for burnt butter cream. And because we humans will always try to have our cake and eat it too, we remain mere mortals.
This 6” x 8” original collage was constructed of handcut vintage images on handpainted watercolor paper and accented with walnut ink, gold Dresden trim, glitter, brads and string. The goddess’s arms move.
This piece and its story are copyright 2104 Ramona Szczerba. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce without my express written permission. Thanks!