It is traditional, among English-speakers, that at a birthday party, the song "Happy Birthday to You" be sung to the birthday person by the other guests celebrating the birthday. More specifically, the birthday person is traditionally presented with a birthday cake with lit candles, with the number of candles sometimes corresponding to the age of the person. After the song is sung (usually just once), party guests sometimes add wishes like "and many more!" expressing the hope that the birthday person will enjoy a long life. The birthday person may be asked to make a wish ("Make a wish!")—which he or she does silently—and then is supposed to blow out the candles. Traditionally, blowing out the candles is believed (or is considered a lighthearted superstition) to ensure that the wish will come true.[20] Once the candles have been blown out, people may applaud, after which the cake may be served, often with the first piece being served to the person whose birthday it is.
None of the early appearances of the "Happy Birthday to You" lyrics included credits or copyright notices. The Summy Company registered a copyright in 1935, crediting authors Preston Ware Orem and Mrs. R. R. Forman. In 1988, Warner/Chappell Music purchased the company owning the copyright for US$25 million, with the value of "Happy Birthday" estimated at US$5 million.[10][11] Based on the 1935 copyright registration, Warner claimed that the United States copyright will not expire until 2030, and that unauthorized public performances of the song are illegal unless royalties are paid to Warner. In one specific instance in February 2010, the royalty for a single use was said to be US$700.[12] By one estimate, the song is the highest-earning single song in history.[13] In the European Union, the copyright for the song expired on January 1, 2017.[14]
This card has optional greetings: Merry Christmas!, Season's Greetings!, Happy Holidays!, Happy Christmas!, Happy New Year!, Have an Ice Day!, Thank You!, Celebrate!, Happy Solstice!, Happy Birthday!, Happy Belated Birthday!, Happy Anniversary!, Happy Valentine's Day!, I Love You!, Get Well Soon!, Congratulations!, You're Invited!, Come to the Party!, Just Saying Hi!, Thinking of You!, [No Caption]
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