Happy birthday to me, I guess!
Today’s post will be a shorter one, but hopefully, I’ll be able to explain to you all about some traditions when celebrating your birthday in Brazil. Obviously, this is a really personal day, so everyone can have different things for their birthdays, but those are just some common things people do.
Festas = parties. And birthday parties are obviously a must.
In Brazil, a lot of parties are thrown at people’s houses, but if you want something fancier, you’d typically rent a bigger location. These places where you can host parties at are called “buffets”. A lot of kids throw birthday parties there, because there are arcades and other entertaining things to do. Plus, there will always be a dance floor with some early 2000s playlist going on.
Renting a location is really expensive, though, so I’ve only had two of my birthday parties being thrown at “buffets”.
(I don’t know why we call it buffet, btw. It’s really weird). All my other birthday parties as a kid were thrown at home, and that’s still how it’s typically done.
Another thing it always happens is that, whenever you go to a party in a buffet, there’s always some favors at the end. As a kid, I remember always coming back home from a party with a new small toy or some candy!
TWO. THE FOOD
It’s a shame that birthday parties all over the world aren’t like the ones in Brazil, because the food is *the absolute best part*. Obviously, each party is different, so people can have whatever food they want, but the traditional caterer include:
- BOLINHA DE QUEIJO. The literal translation for this is “cheese ball“, so I think you can expect it being delicious AF. It’s simply a deep fried mini cheese ball and it’s likely you’ll eat more than you want when at a birthday.
- COXINHA. Though this is a really popular Brazilian snack that people eat at any circumstance tbh, coxinhas are really popular at parties. It’s a deep fried dough with chicken inside and crazy delicious.
- BRIGADEIRO. This is another “snack” that can be had at any time and is not specific to parties, but it’s also not a party without brigadeiro. It is a dessert, technically, and typically served alongside with the birthday cake. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s the best thing ever.
- BEIJINHO. Similar to brigadeiro, but instead of chocolate, it’s actually condensed milk and coconut sprinkled on top. This one you’ll only see at birthday parties.
Another weird thing is that there’s this tradition where the first slice of the birthday cake should be given to the one most special to you.
THREE. HAPPY BIRTHDAY SONG
I was thinking about recently how the birthday song is sort of universal? Like, it has the same melody, no matter whether it is English, Korean, Russian or Portuguese! This is how it sounds when we sing Happy Birthday in Portuguese, btw:
At the end of the song, we also have to scream:
É pique, é pique
É pique, é pique, é pique
É hora, é hora
É hora, é hora, é hora
And then the person’s name repeatedly. Again, another one of those things that don’t really have an explanation, but it’s probably because, unlike the English version, we do not fit the name of the person within the song (like you’d say: “Happy birthday, dear Lais”), so they probably added that so we could chant the person’s name too.
FOUR. PERSONAL TRADITIONS
Okay, so I’ve kinda went through everything that happens during a typical celebration in Brazil, but that’s not what most people do to celebrate their birthdays, especially once you turn a certain age.
What people typically do is going to a restaurant, with friends and family, eating some good food and doing the things they like the most for their birthdays.
That’s what I do too. For the past three years, I’ve created this sort of tradition during my birthday: my family and I go to my favorite restaurant and then eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream for desert. I then like going to a bookstore where I can get some favorite books as birthday gifts.
Apart from that, I don’t like doing a lot on my birthday. But I think it’s interesting I have a tradition and I wanted to share.
Now, let me know in the comments: what does the birthday song sound like on your country? And do you have any personal traditions for your special day? Let me know in the comments!