Most kids parties are steeped in the birthday traditions of party games, gifts, balloons and decorations, lively choruses of "Happy Birthday to You", enticing foods, and a decorated, candle-topped cake.
When planning this year's birthday party, why not enhance the fun - and increase cultural awareness - by incorporating some birthday traditions from around the world?
In China, friends and relatives of the birthday child are invited for a lunch of noodles. During the celebration, the guest of honor pays homage to his parents and receives wishes for a long life from all in attendance.
Children in England are treated to a Fortune Telling birthday cake that's baked with small trinkets, candies, and faux coins mixed in the batter. According to legend, receiving a piece of cake with a coin inside foretells fortune, while the unlucky recipient of the thimble is said to never marry.
Pinatas filled with trinkets and sweet treats are children's traditions in Mexico, Panama, and Cuba.
Children in Russia are treated to a birthday pie with a special greeting carved into the crust.
While you may not wish to serve noodles at your child's birthday luncheon or swap the lavish birthday cake for a carved crust birthday pie, it may be fun to learn how to say "Happy Birthday" in other languages, or to sing a birthday song from another culture.
Adult birthdays, especially milestone celebrations that mark the beginning of a new decade, are brimming with traditions as well. Milestone birthdays are typically celebrated either as a testament to the guest of honor's life or with a humorous "Over the Hill" party theme. During 100th birthday celebrations, the guest of honor is traditionally presented with 100 candles, flowers, or balloons - one for each year of life.
All birthdays are special, regardless of age or culture. Celebrating them with traditional foods, songs, and decorations makes the occasion more memorable. This year, enjoy celebrating with time-honored traditions, or start some new traditions of your own.
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