Evidence of birthday observances dates back before the rise of Christianity. In pagan cultures, people feared evil spirits - especially on their birthdays. It was a common belief that evil spirits were more dangerous to a person when he or she experienced a change in their daily life, such as turning a year older. As a result, birthdays were merry occasions celebrated with family and friends, who surrounded the person of honor with laughter and joy in order to protect them from evil. Instead of gifts, most guests brought positive thoughts and happy wishes for the upcoming year. However, if well-wishers did bring gifts, it was considered an especially good influence for the birthday person.
The world's largest birthday cake was created in 1989 for the 100th Birthday of the city of Fort Payne, Alabama. The cake weighed 128,238 pounds, 8 oz. and used 16,209 pounds of icing.