Birthday Traditions

Birthday traditions have many similiarities throughout the world, but also many differences. Here are a few fun birthday traditions. Try them at your next celebration and for a taste of Spanish cultural customs.


Peru

Birthdays traditions are celebrated with festive birthday parties consisting of lots of people, loud music, and food. Beautiful birthday cakes made out of layered jello, called torta helada, are common.
Music and dancing are very important to Peruvian culture and even at children’s parties everyone, kids and parents, will dance.Often, two kinds of party favors or recordatorio are given out; a goody bag, and also an elaborate pin to commemorate the event.
Special birthdays, such as a 5oth , can be large affairs. Live music, full dinner and dancing for hours is customary. The birthday celebrant dances with everyone at the party, which could be 100 people.


Mexico

Las Mañanitas is the Mexican birthday song. It is often sung when the birthday person wakes up. You can also sing it while waiting to cut the cake and is often performed by mariachi bands. The song originated in 1886 in Zacatecas Mexico.

Las Mañanitas Lyrics:

  • Estas son las mañanitas, que cantaba el Rey David,
  • Hoy por ser día de tu santo, te las cantamos a ti,
  • Despierta, mi bien*, despierta, mira que ya amaneció,
  • Ya los pajarillos cantan, la luna ya se metió.
  • Que linda está la mañana en que vengo a saludarte,
  • Venimos todos con gusto y placer a felicitarte,
  • Ya viene amaneciendo, ya la luz del día nos dio,
  • Levántate de mañana, mira que ya amaneció.
  • Translation:

  • This is the morning song that King David sang
  • Because today is your saint's day we're singing it for you
  • Wake up, my dear (or name), wake up, look it is already dawn
  • The birds are already singing and the moon has set
  • How lovely is the morning in which I come to greet you
  • We all came with joy and pleasure to congratulate you
  • The morning is coming now, the sun is giving us its light
  • Get up in the morning, look it is already dawn
  • Another fun birthday tradition is that the birthday celebrant must take the first bite of cake. Everyone yells “mordida , mordida”, which means bite. The celebrant bends over the cake and takes a bite directly, often making quite the mess.

    Mexican parties or fiestas usually include piñatas.


    Spain

    One of the Spanish birthday traditions, is that the birthday person gets a pull on the ear for each year “los tirones de oreja”. Kids break piñatas at birthday celebrations.If you go out with friends, traditionally the birthday girl or boy treats everyone.

    It is common to celebrate your name day or Saint’s day. For very common names, everyone knows the date of the Saint’s day and will reach out to the celebrant. However, for less common names, friends would have to be notified. People are often named for the patron saint of their town, so locally there would be many celebrations on that name day.

    The Spanish birthday song is Cumpleaños Feliz. The word cumpleaños means completed years, so you are literally celebrating the years of life that are completed.


    Venezuela

    Piñatas are such an important part of the party, that the entire name of the event is a piñata ie Maria’s piñata is tomorrow.In addition to cake, flan (quesillo) and jello are served.A venezualan birthday written by Luis Cruz in 1953 song is:

  • Ay! que noche tan preciosa
  • es la noche de tu día
  • todo lleno de alegría
  • en esta fecha natal
  • Tus más íntimos amigos
  • esta noche te acompañan,
  • te saludan y desean
  • un mundo de felicidad.
  • Yo por mi parte deseo
  • lleno de luz este día,
  • todo lleno de alegría
  • en esta fecha natal.
  • Y que esta luna plateada
  • brille su luz para ti,
  • y ruego a Dios porque pases
  • un cumpleaños feliz.
  • Translation

  • ¡Ay! what a precious night
  • It is the night of YOUR day
  • All full of pleasantness
  • On this the date of your birth.
  • Your closest friends
  • Will go with you tonight,
  • They will wish you health
  • And a world of happiness.
  • Me, for my part, I wish
  • That today be full of light,
  • All full of happiness
  • On this the date of your birth.
  • And that this silver moon
  • Shine its light for you
  • And I pray to God that you have
  • A Happy Birthday.

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