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  • Writer's pictureMacabre Emporium Pod

Episode 4 - Over the Hill

Updated: Nov 15, 2022


How old are you??

Well…..let’s figure this out in the least painful way…

-You are 190 in cat years

-You are 223 in dog years

-You have spent 14,600 days on earth

-You have been breathing for 2085 weeks

-You are 480 months old

-And at 8:30 am today you were 21,021,904 minutes old, or 1,261,314,697 seconds old.

So I would say you’re pretty old. Way to go!

A quiz about the day you were born:

-What is your birth flower? - Chrysanthemum

-What is your birthstone? - Topaz and Citrine

-What day of the week were you born? - Tuesday

-What is your ruling planet? - Pluto

-Who was the president? - Ronald Reagan

-What was the #1 song the day you were born? - Up Where We Belong by Joe Crocker and Jennifer Warnes

Fun Facts:

-You share a birthday with Lou Ferrigno (the hulk) and Sisqo (thong song) and Ryan Murphy (creator of American Horror Story), Big Nose Kate who was a prostitute in Slovakia.

-You were probably conceived the week of Valentine's day…

-People born in November are said to be good sleepers - that’s no joke, you sleep like the dead

-People born in November are more likely to be left-handed - you tick that box

Tweets from other 40-year-olds that may help you

-Part of being 40 is not liking a single song in America's Top 40.

-Welcome to your 40s, you don’t even know why but you’re angry.

-Welcome to your 40s, where you have no idea what you did to cause the pain you're feeling

-My dad tried to warn me nose hair would become an issue in my 40s, but I didn't listen….Now it looks like I have a primary mustache and a secondary mustache, and the secondary mustache looks like it's trying to escape my face when I sneeze.

-If you’ve ever wondered if you’re getting old, ask yourself this question. Have you ever bought

expensive cheese? Therein lies your answer

And in our personal experience on aging period….

-You know you’re old when you hear Slipknot on the classic rock station, and when you hear a little shithead kid a table over from you at culvers talking about how “in the old days they let people leave school for lunch”.



Birthday tradition origins

With this week’s episode landing on my 40th birthday. I was going to do a train-related subject this week, since model railroading and interests in trains all my life. But there are so many things I found that could be their own episode. (crash at crush, fish by rail, circus trains, etc.)

But, I got to thinking about our birthday tradition of seeing a movie and dinner of our choice on where I wanted to go when it is time. Then the thought hit me, when and how the hell we, as a society, decided it's acceptable to give a flaming dessert and sing off-key as a group on somebody’s birthday? So this week, I have chosen some of the staples of the birthday party. I will also go over some birthday traditions from around the world.

So let's begin with the term over the hill yes let's rip the fuckin’ band-aid off and get it out of the way. Usually, when someone hits their 40th birthday, we tell them they are over the hill. This means they are passed their prime, old, or worn out. Sarah, as you can tell, with the things I have done in my first 40 years, this isn’t the case for me. There isn’t a clear answer on when this tradition originated. Some sites claim it was as early as the 1950s or early in the, guess what period.

Over-the-hill birthday party traditions usually include:

  • Tombstone and all-black decorations

  • Usually, a tombstone-shaped cake

  • A walker and or cane for the birthday celebrant

  • Possibly read off a tongue-in-cheek eulogy for the birthday celebrant

  • A gag gift of elderly care products.

  • Wheelchair races and other elder-themed games

  • Have the grim reaper make an appearance

What caught my interest most about some of these traditions were the games. As I briefly listed were wheelchair races. Some sites read to have walker races also but tying the participant legs to the walker so they can’t cheat and pick up the walker and run.

One other game is The Older Than Game. This game involves everyone taking turns listing off things the celebrant is older than until someone can’t think of anything.

Not as young as you used to be, game. This is where you would play games that require flexibility and agility like twister and operation.

Your new diet game: With us getting older, people tend to start having stomach issues. Signifying you will start having to eat bland and, or pureed foods. The objective of this game is to have the celebrant taste test bottles of pureed food and guess what they are. There are many, many more games listed this was just a few I found interesting.

So with that out of the way, the birthday in the United States is more modern than you think even though the ancient Egyptian are accredited more for the birthday.

The Egyptians didn’t celebrate the birthdays of regular people but of their Pharoah or Egyptian King. Even though the term Pharaoh is a generic term for all Egyptian kings, for clarity, I will only refer to them as pharaohs. The Egyptians believed their pharaohs were living gods and were a mediator between them and the Gods. When these pharaohs would die or become divine, as they thought, they would celebrate their pharaoh's day of becoming a god. They would track this with lunar calendars, which are based on stars and the sun's position.

The ancient Greeks would be most likely where the biggest birthday tradition comes from, the birthday cake and candles. The Greeks would make moon-shaped cakes in honor of their goddess Artemis, the goddess of childbirth, wildlife, and the moon. Artemis would be honored with several festivals during the year but, the Mounikhia festival is most likely where the tradition came from. During this festival honoring Artemis round cakes which are more like bread made of dough, honey, and sesame seeds would be taken to temples while being presented with lit torches on both sides. These torches would represent the rising and setting sun. After reaching the temple candles would be placed on the cake to represent the stars and the moon. The Greeks would make wishes they would extinguish the candles, as they believed the smoke carried their prayers to the heavens.

Some of the first records of birthday celebrations for common folk were in the time of the Romans which they adapted from the Greeks but, only the birthdays of men were celebrated at this time. Women’s birthdays would be later celebrated in the 12th century. Any Roman man that turned 50 years old would receive a special cake that is also like bread. Typically made of wheat flour, olive oil, grated cheese, and honey. Governments would designate holidays for their more famous citizens.

Early and I mean early, early Christians didn’t celebrate birthdays. They thought that they were evil because of their roots in paganism. For those that don’t understand what it means to be pagan, it's holding religious beliefs out of the main world religions. These early Christians believed people were born with “original sin” meaning we were all born sinful and have a built-in urge to disobey God. Since Pagan's birthday celebrations were tied to their gods which made them evil (insert merman evilll!). It wasn’t until the 4th century that they would begin to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Pagans hold beliefs that your personal spirit makes an appearance during your birthday as well as demons. So noise makers would be used to drive the evil spirits away. It was also believed that having a circle of friends and family around you added another layer of protection.

The birthday cake we know today holds its origins in Germany during what is called Kinderfest, when translated it means children’s festival. During the 17th century is when the modern birthday cake we know today started to take shape. To sum it up briefly what cakes were like at this time think of a pound cake. More elaborate cakes with multiple layers, icing, and decorations were only available to the wealthy in this period. The German children would blow out candles for each year of their life and typically one more for luck. So for example, if the child was turning five they would actually blow out six candles.

Birthday celebrations didn’t really become popular for the masses until the industrial revolution since most ingredients for birthday cakes were expensive and as I just said only the wealthy could afford them. The advances of mass production in this time period with the combination of the ingredients becoming more available with better production and refinement of raw materials allowed bakeries to offer pre-made birthday cakes at lower prices.

Now as it's almost a running joke about the Victorians I actually couldn’t find some weird ass shit from this era. In fact, this is where the birthday song comes from.

1893 kindergarten teacher Patty Hill and her sister Mildred Hill of Louisville, Kentucky composed the lyrics of the birthday song to the melody of the song, “good morning to you.” (Insert actual song here as its public domain) The earliest compositions of Happy birthday didn’t show up in print until 1912. In 1935 Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. R. R. Forman were credited with the copyright registered through The Summy Company. In 1988 Warner/Chappell Music would acquire The Summy company for 25 million dollars. The rights to Happy Birthday alone are estimated at 5 million.

Until 2016 it was illegal to sing happy birthday in public until an independent filmmaker named Jennifer Nelson had to pay 1,500 dollars in royalty fees to Warner/Chapel music for using a clip of the song in a documentary, she was filming about Good morning to you. She filed a lawsuit not only for herself but on the behalf of everyone that has ever had to pay this fee that Warner/Chapel music to repay the fees back.

Warner/Chappell was making about 2 million dollars a year in royalties on this song at the time. She won the case as the courts ruled that the version that Warner/Chapell had claims on was for a specific piano arrangement from 1935 and not the original song itself. The judge ruled the Warner/ Chappell copyright claim was invalid except for the specific piano arrangement. One of the pieces of evidence that was submitted was an original copy of “Harvest Hymns” which has the lyrics of Happy Birthday composed exactly to the music of “Good Morning to You” from 1924. Warner/Chapell settled to pay out 14 million dollars. The original Happy Birthday song is now in public domain for free use to anyone.

Happy Birthday has been translated into over 20 languages and is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as one of the most recognized songs in the English language.

To close this out I wanted to share a few birthday traditions from around the world:

  • In Ireland, you are flipped upside down and someone light bumps you on the head for each year, plus one for good luck. If you make it through 21 years of head bumps you get a set of keys symbolizing unlocking the door to your future.

  • In Brazil, children are told to protect their ears on their birthdays as friends and family members will pull on their ears for each year of life. In hopes, you grow old enough for them to reach the ground. Russia, Italy, and Argentina practice this as well

  • In North Korea, nobody is allowed to have a birthday on July 8th and December 17th. These are the death dates of Kim iI-Sung and Kim Jong-ill. Anyone born on July 8, 1994, can legally change their birthday. Their birthdays are displaced to the days after.

  • In Russia, birthday parties will have clotheslines with presents for attending children as well as the celebrant and pies are common on birthdays in Russia.

  • In Inuit cultures coming of age is at the age of 12 when they are taken out in the wilderness with their fathers to test their hunting skills and get acclimated to the harsh arctic weather.

  • Canadians have a tradition of greasing the end of the celebrant’s nose with butter to ward off bad luck. If this was during the 19th century when margarine was illegal.

Australians usually give children what they call Fairy Bread which is just buttered bread covered with sprinkles.

I know I skipped over gift giving but there were so many variations of this from Pagan offerings to the gods all the way to the three wise men visiting the birth of Jesus. In my opinion, it would more than likely would offerings to the gods where its origins come from.

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