A Birthday Party
I recently attended the birthday party of two dear friends. Since their birthdays are only a day apart we did them together. Both of my friends turned 33 this year. Grace is from Seoul, South Korea and has lived in America for 1 year. Han is from Guangzhou, China and just came to America in December.
It is our custom to give a decorated cake to the person on their birthday. Sometimes we bake the cake ourselves, but many times we buy a cake from the store and finish decorating it at home. We buy icing in small tubes that can be squeezed and write “Happy Birthday” on the cake. We will also write the person’s name. Sometimes we will decorate cookies (as in the picture) or cupcakes for one’s birthday. After the cake is decorated we place candles on the cake. When the time comes for the party the candles are lit. After the candles are lit everyone sings Happy Birthday to the person. Since the cake in the picture is for Han the song would go like this:
Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Han, Happy Birthday to you!
For children we will put a small candle for each year they have been alive. So if a child is 10 we will place 10 small candles on the cake. (When a person becomes older it is harder to have that many candles on the cake. In fact, it might become a fire hazard.) At the parties of children it is customary for the parents to decorate with balloons and other colorful decorations. Adults will do this for a major birthday, like when a person turns 40 and/or 50. It is common to have an “Over the Hill” birthday party for adults turning 50. (Over the hill means a person is past the middle years of life and are now on the downhill side going towards the end of life.)
It is also customary for friends and family to give gifts to those having a birthday. For our party gifts were not expected, so we give greeting cards instead. At a child’s party we would give a gift and a card or we might just give a card with money inside. It is also customary for the birthday person to have the first piece of cake after it is cut. After people enjoy the cake and the person has opened their gifts the party usually moves along with games and social activities. This was true for our party. After eating we all played one of our favorite card games until late. Overall, it was a wonderful time of celebration and fun, just as a birthday party should be.
1. For adults turning 50 it is common to have what kind of birthday party?
2. For children it is okay to give a greeting card with what, instead of gift?
3. What customs do you have for celebrating one’s birthday?
4. Tell us about one of the best birthday’s you have experienced?