Before today, I’d always associated flour with birthdays in terms of making a cake. Now, however, I will have to rethink this.
Did you know that in Germany, on someone’s 16th birthday it is tradition to throw flour over his or her head? Apparently at 18 they do eggs. (I did not find any indication they continue through the cake recipe with sugar at 21 or baking soda at 25). Actually, at 25, unmarried men are treated to sock garlands around their homes. The Sockenkranz labels them confirmed bachelors. Sort of like the Pepper Person tradition in Denmark.
Better yet, in Jamaica, no one is immune from this powdery tradition. Mango Salute magazine reports family and friends “spend days devising cunning ways” to enable a so-called “Flour Shower” before adding on some kind of liquid leaving the birthday boy or girl covered by goo (Too bad giving umbrellas is verboten).
This tradition is also seen in Indonesia. Blogger Lily Wiggins shared her own experiences being floured there, along with her appreciation for how the tradition prompted even strangers to smile and wish her “Selamat Ulang Tahun!”
There are other cultures that butter the nose of the birthday celebrant, so I pity the single man of Canadian and Jamaican descent spending his 25th birthday in Germany. He’d be surrounded by socks and slipping into his birthday with a buttered nose and floured head!