A Brief History of Birthday Invitations
Most people send birthday invitations at least once a year, and sometimes more if they hand out birthday invitations for their children, friends or family members. And yet, even though nearly everyone sends or receives birthday invitations every year of their entire lives, hardly anyone knows the origin of this cherished stationery custom.
It turns out that birthday invitations have roots that reach all the way back in a few prolific early civilizations. Both the ancient Chinese and Egyptians commemorated important events, like the beginning of the New Year, by exchanging some kind of paper greeting card similar to the modern day birthday invitation. The practice was spread through trade and travel, with early semblances of birthday invitations popping up in European cultures before long.
The biggest strides made toward the development of the birthday invitations of today happened during the Industrial Revolution, when new technologies for printing and mechanization made it possible to mass produce stationery. These huge leaps forward, coupled with the introduction of the postage stamp in the nineteenth century, made it easy for American consumers to start their passionate love affair with stationery—and birthday invitations in particular!
When the printing of color cards became the norm after World War I, birthday invitations finally cemented their place in history as a timeless tradition. They might have their roots back in ancient civilizations, but even today birthday revelers can hardly imagine blowing out their candles without a stylish birthday invitation nearby!