The context: 1813, England, 19 year old woman from a moderately well off family is living as a Ladies companion for a rich relative who doesn't know her very well. Since she's there for a while she has to hit a birthday eventually, so what I want to know is:
How big a deal were birthdays? Would she be expected to go home to celebrate it, or would her family just send gifts? Or just letters? Or just wish her a happy birthday when they saw her next?
Would her relative be expected to know when her birthday was and get a gift? Anything else I should keep in mind? And how much of a big deal would be made about her rich relative's birthday? (She's about 30 and single)
The character is not the sort to care all that much about birthdays but her family would if they were supposed to.
I'm not planning on making a big deal out of it, but it's niggling at me and it would feel weird to ignore it and just act like she never had a birthday at all :)
Un-useful searches: 18th century/19th century/regency + birthday (+ middle class)
I read the wikipedia pages on birthdays and birthday cake and searched for "birthday" on the regency encyclopedia, for all the good it did me