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Birthday Traditions Around the World

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Christina Montoya Fiedler:

child hitting a pinata
It's hard to believe that my little boy will be a year old in August. He's been in our lives for such a short time, yet it's difficult to imagine what our lives were like before his arrival. As we set out to start planning his first birthday party, here's a look at how other parents, in different parts of the world, celebrate:

Egypt: In Egypt, flowers and fruit are used as symbols of life and growth, and are an integral part of decorating for the party each year.

Israel: A special chair is decorated with fresh plants and flowers. The child sits in this chair and family and friends gather round, lifting the child high in the air, once for each year of life, and once again for good luck.

Philippines: Blinking colored lights are hung from the home of the child celebrating the birthday, so that the whole community knows about the special day.

Korea: In Korea, "Paegil" (the 100th day after a child's birth) is a day of feasting for the child's family. Similarly, on a Korean child's first birthday, a party called a "Tol" or "Dol" is held. Family and friends gather to enjoy food together and offer the one-year-old gifts of money.

Russia: Russian children get pies instead of cakes on their special days.

Mexico: In Mexico, a child's birthday is not complete without a piñata. Many American families have now adopted this fun pastime as well.

Argentina: Children in Argentina receive pulls on the earlobe for their birthday -- one for each year of life, plus an extra for good luck.

Whatever the tradition, birthdays remain an important part of many cultures. As for us, we'll be celebrating with a cake, ice cream, balloons, and family and friends. Call it simple, but we know it will be perfect.

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1 comments so far | Post a comment now
Ruth July 8, 2009, 2:12 PM

Fun information! My oldest daughter would love a Russian birthday. She always requests pie instead of cake.

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