Candles on cake in Ancient Greece
One theory is that the history of putting candles on cakes began in Ancient Greece. The Greeks would make round cakes to honor Artemis, the goddess of the moon. The lit candles on cake represented the glow of the moon, and the smoke from the candles carried their prayers and wishes to the Gods who lived in the skies.
Some scholars believe the tradition actually started in Germany, where a candle was supposedly placed on the cake to represent “the light of life”.
Today, most western cultures celebrate birthdays with candles and cakes, lit candles and a birthday song. The number of candles on cake usually represents the age of the person being celebrated. Many believe that a silent wish must be made while blowing out all the candles with one breath. The wish cannot be told to anyone else, or it will not come true.