Contemporary rituals and traditions

The cake, or sometimes a pastry or dessert, is served to a person on his or her birthday. In contemporary Western cultures, two rituals are prominent: the singing of the traditional birthday song and the blowing out of candles decorating the cake by the birthday person. The service of a birthday cake is often preceded by the singing of "Happy Birthday to You" in English speaking countries, or an equivalent birthday song in the appropriate language of that country. In fact, the phrase "Happy Birthday" did not appear on birthday cakes until the song "Happy Birthday to You" was popularized in the early 1900s. Variations on birthday song rituals exist. For example, in New Zealand, "Happy Birthday to You" is sung and is followed by clapping, once for each year of the person's life and once more for good luck. In Uruguay, party guests touch the birthday person's shoulder or head following the singing of "Happy Birthday to You". In Ecuador, sometimes the birthday person will take a large bite off the birthday cake before it is served. The birthday cake is often decorated with small taper candles, secured with special holders or simply pressed down into the cake. In North America, Australasia and the U.K., the number of candles is equal to the age of the individual whose birthday it is, sometimes with one extra for luck. Traditionally, the birthday person makes a private wish, which will be realized if all the candles are extinguished in a single breath. In North America, birthday cake is sometimes served with ice cream. A birthday cake is shared amongst all the people attending a birthday party. This represents sharing of joy and togetherness. As a courtesy, it reflects one's hospitality and respect for guests."Happy Birthday to You", also known more simply as "Happy Birthday", is a song that is traditionally sung to celebrate the anniversary of a person's birth. According to the 1998 Guinness Book of World Records, "Happy Birthday to You" is the most recognized so

g in the English language, followed by "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow". The song's base lyrics have been translated into at least 18 languages.[1], p. 17 The melody of "Happy Birthday to You" comes from the song "Good Morning to All", which was written and composed by American siblings Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill in 1893.[2][3] Patty was a kindergarten principal in Louisville, Kentucky, developing various teaching methods at what is now the Little Loomhouse;[4] Mildred was a pianist and composer.[1], p. 7 The sisters created "Good Morning to All" as a song that would be easy to be sung by young children.[1], p. 14 The combination of melody and lyrics in "Happy Birthday to You" first appeared in print in 1912, and probably existed even earlier.[1], pp. 3132 None of these early appearances included credits or copyright notices. The Summy Company registered for copyright in 1935, crediting authors Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. R.R. Forman.[citation needed] In 1990, Warner Chappell purchased the company owning the copyright for $15 million, with the value of "Happy Birthday" estimated at $5 million.[5] Based on the 1935 copyright registration, Warner claims that the United States copyright will not expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are technically illegal unless royalties are paid to it. In one specific instance in February 2010, these royalties were said to amount to $700.[6] In the European Union, the copyright of the song will expire on December 31, 2016.[7] The actual American copyright status of "Happy Birthday to You" began to draw more attention with the passage of the Copyright Term Extension Act in 1998. When the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Act in Eldred v. Ashcroft in 2003, Associate Justice Stephen Breyer specifically mentioned "Happy Birthday to You" in his dissenting opinion.[8] American law professor Robert Brauneis, who heavily researched the song, has expressed strong doubts that it is still under copyright.