When it comes to occasions like birthdays, we all celebrate with birthday cakes, balloons, chocolates, and other delicious treats. But things are not the same everywhere. Different countries have their own way of celebrating birthdays. Let’s take a look at some of the more unconventional but interesting ways to celebrate this personal milestone.
Africa – Initiation ceremonies are held in various African nations for groups of children in lieu of birthdays. Children are made to learn the laws, beliefs, customs, songs and dances of their tribes upon reaching a certain age.
Argentina – On their 15th birthday, the girls dance to the rhythm of the waltz with their father and other boys.
Brazil – Sweaters with earlobes. The birthday boy gets a tug on his earlobe for every year he has been alive. The birthday person also gives the first slice of the birthday cake to his or her most special friend, usually mom or dad. At the age of 15, girls waltz with their father and grandfather. Dance with a total of 15 couples, each of which symbolizes a year of his life.
Canada – Grease the nose with butter. In Atlantic Canada, the birthday boy’s nose is greased for good luck. The greasy nose is believed to make the birthday boy too slippery for bad luck to catch up with. This tradition is reputed to be of Scottish origin. In Quebec, the birthday person is punched for every year they are alive and then one for good luck.
porcelain – In China, the birthday boy pays tribute to his parents and receives a gift of money. Friends and family are invited to lunch and noodles are served to wish the birthday boy a long life.
Denmark – A flag is flown outside the window to indicate that someone in the house is celebrating a birthday. Gifts are placed around the birthday boy’s bed as he sleeps so that he is seen immediately upon waking.
Ecuador – When a girl turns 15, there is a big celebration and the girl wears a pink dress. The father puts on the birthday girl’s first pair of high heels and waltzes with her, while 14 maids and 14 boys also dance with them.
England – In England, certain symbolic objects are mixed into the birthday cake while it is being made. If your piece of cake has a coin, you will be rich. In addition to that, when you are celebrating your birthday, your friends give you the “blows”, they lift you up in the air by your hands and feet and lift you up and down to the floor, one for each year and then one for luck, two for the luck and three for the old man’s bogeyman.
Germany – A family member of the birthday person wakes up at dawn and lights candles on the birthday cake. The number of candles will be equal to the age of the birthday person, plus one for good luck. The candles are left lit all day. That night after dinner, everyone sings the birthday song and the birthday boy blows out the candles. Then the presents are opened and the party begins.
Guiana – Duck, chicken or lamb curry with rice are the main dishes for the birthday celebration. A family member bakes a piece of fruit, black or a sponge for the birthday girl / boy to cut. The birthday person will wear something fancy.
Holland – Birthdays of special years like 5, 10, 15, 20, 21 are called “crown” years. The birthday boy receives a great gift on the birthday of the crown year. The family decorates the dining room chair of the birthday boy with flowers, streamers and balloons. At school, the birthday boy may give his classmates chocolates or other things to eat, and the teacher makes the child a special birthday hat made of paper streamers and paper flowers.
Vietnam – Everyone celebrates their birthday in the new year. Tet is not only the beginning of a new year, it also means everyone’s birthday. The Vietnamese do not recognize the exact day they were born. A baby meets one with Tet, regardless of when it was born that year. On the first morning of Tet, adults congratulate children on growing up one year by giving them red envelopes containing “Lucky Money” or li xi. These envelopes are given to children by their parents, relatives, close friends, and siblings.