Why we blow out birthday candles & other silly traditions.

4 min readMay 15, 2020

Have you ever wondered…

Why do we say ‘For Pete’s Sake’? Who is this ‘Pete’ we speak of?

Why do we work 5 days a week and have 2 off?

And of course, why on earth do we light candles on our birthdays and blow them out?

The thing is, most people don’t wonder. Or even question these traditional behaviors at all. I’m an anomaly, but even I didn’t question the birthday candles until I was in my forties.

And the more I thought about those candles, the more I wondered.
Let’s take a quick look.

Pete’s Sake.

Who IS Pete? Ok, if you were likely to question any of the above, it might be this one, especially if you are a Pete.

Did you know that the original phrase originated in the late 1800s, and was actually, “For the love of Mike”. Many speculations have said this is in reference to St. Michael. From a religion standpoint, this makes sense.
“For Pete’s Sake” is first noted in history in the early 1900’s. Some say it was developed because of the phonetic resemblance that ‘Pete’ has to the word ‘Pity’.

Does this mean if someone said, “For Pity’s Sake”, they were pitying you? I don’t know. It definitely doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Other historians believe it evolved from “For Peace Sake”. I might be able to grasp this. We all want peace, right?

Even others will take this back to the original religious roots, referencing St. Peter. In many cases, people believe that Pete is a substitute name for ‘God’. If you insert ‘God’ in place of Pete, this makes sense.

“For the love of Pete.” “For the love of God.”

People often will say both, but again, who chose the name Pete? Why not Eric? Doug? Jason?

After investigating this, the answer simply seems to be- No one knows.

5 Day Work Week.

Modern society in most cultures embodies the 5 day work week as the norm. But again, why? Why not a 4 day work week? Why not 6?


Jen is the host of the missing persons podcast: "Where are they?”