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balloons & streamers

15 May 2012
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last weekend, i was invited by my neighbor to come to her niece’s 5th birthday party. i’m so glad i decided to go!

i hate to admit it, but sometimes i try to avoid the social gatherings (especially parties) i get invited to here. they tend to be loud, uncomfortable, and awkward on a number of levels Рnot exactly a great place for getting to know my neighbors or enjoying their company.

i was informed, however, that birthday parties are much more relaxed than most other types of celebrations here. no formal dress code, no ceremonies to adhere to – just a fun, happy time for the kids to run around and enjoy themselves.

the party was much like children’s birthday parties in the states, including:
– a decorated cake, complete with candles
– guests singing “happy birthday” (including the english version)
– favors/gift bags for guests
– balloons & streamers
– gifts for the birthday girl
– moms watching over and guiding the kids while the dads
sat and talked in the next room ūüôā

there were some small differences, one of which stuck out to me the most:
the cake-cutting ceremony. after the happy birthday song, the birthday girl
blew out the candles and was then handed a knife (she was turning five).
with some supervision, she proceeded to cut the first piece (ala wedding
reception). then, rather than immediately indulging in her birthday treat,
she was guided around to her family members, giving them the first bites, 
one by one: her mother, younger brother, father, and grandmother.
then, grandma gave the birthday girl her bite of cake.

i thought this was a really special moment of family-centered culture peeking¬†through¬†a very¬†western-style birthday party, and i’m glad i got to¬†witness it.

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