Birthday Spankings and other Traditions....

Posted by GoGo Goodie on September 28, 2011.

I grew up when having a birthday meant watching out at school for all your friends that would "help you celebrate" your birthday by swatting your bottom.  If you were really slow or weak, they would proceed to swat you once for each year of your age... and the extra one for "good luck".  I won't even mention the dreaded spanking machine, pure torture!  

So, where did this custom of inflicting pain come from?  Well, it seems that this is a widespread birthday custom takes many forms around the world, all rooted in the idea of delivering some form of physical torment to the person whose birthday it is, in order to drive away evil and to attract good luck. These torments range from spankings, through punches and earlobe-pulling, to "the Bumps".

"The Bumps", a torment common in countries such as the U.K. and Ireland, involves the friends and family of the person whose birthday it is taking him or her by the arms and legs, and "bumping" him/her up into the air and down onto the floor.  The number of "bumps" given equals the age of the person in years plus one "for luck".  Usually "the Bumps" are administered only to children, in part because as people grow up they become too heavy for the process.

In Canada "birthday punches" are given in a similar fashion, where the person whose birthday it is punched a number of times equal to his/her age, plus one for luck.  In Brazil, Hungary, Argentina, Italy, and other countries, the person has his/her earlobes pulled.  The Hungarian tradition also involves at the same time as pulling the earlobes wishing the person a happy birthday or reciting a rhyme whose English translation is "God bless you, live so long so your ears reach your ankles.".

In India, a person on his birthday, is held up in the air by his hands and legs by his friends (the tradition is not usually followed in presence of family), and kicked or spanked on the buttocks. It is referred to as 'Birthday Bumps'. The number of bumps given equals the age of the person but usually ends up exceeding that number.

Seems that in the US, the tradition of spanking on Birthdays has faded greatly.  I must admit that I'm a little sad about that because I remember having so much fun running away from everyone on my birthday.  It was a giant game of tag that lasted all day long!  So, even if you forgo the spankings, don't forget the custom of giving goodie bags (loot bags)!  That is at least one custom I don't see going away anytime soon...


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