Today, my youngest daughter turns 14. Circumstances as they are, I still think she'll have a fine day. We're meeting her mother for lunch after which she will go shopping for the afternoon. She'll be with family and friends all day. We'll finish the day with the dinner of her choice.
Thousands of years ago birthdays were considered a time when the bad spirits as opposed to the good spirits were able to harm you as this day changed a person's life. It was believed that the only way to keep the bad spirits at bay was to have your friends and family around you so that their good wishes and present giving would keep them at bay.
Also noisemakers are thought to be used at parties as a way of scaring away the evil spirits.
The custom of lighting candles originated with people believing that the gods lived in the sky and by lighting candles and torches they were sending a signal or prayer to the gods so they they could be answered. When you blow out the candles and make a wish this is another way of sending a signal and a message.