Celebrating birthdays is a tradition. The birthday cake is the symbol. The candles are the story.
I attended my sister-in-laws 63rd birthday. The young ones shout “We need 63 candles!” I say, “No, we don’t want a bonfire, just 6 red striped candles, each candle representing a decade of her life and 3 green striped candles for the 3 years.” What’s important is a true celebration of life (among the living) because she made it while others didn’t.