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I have so many great memories of birthday celebrations growing up in Venezuela, they are memories that make me very happy and nostalgic. My mom used to get us the prettiest new clothes to wear that day, there was always a cake with some quesillo (Flan) and jello and we would always, always have a piñata -in fact when you are a kid they aren’t called birthday parties, they are called piñatas as in: At what time is Dariela’s piñata tomorrow?
The adults play a big role in the piñatas too, there is plenty to eat and drink for them: beer, rum, little meat balls, cheese balls, cheese sticks and so on; plus after the main part of the kid’s party ends, the adults continue partying! In my memories this just meant that I got to play and have fun with my friends and family for a really long time during my birthday.
When celebrating my kid’s birthdays here in the states I always want to recreate some of those festivities and piñatas:
- My son Adrian has had a piñata since his first birthday party, it will always be there as the main activity!
- I always make adult food and drinks available at the party with some Venezuelan flavor.
- I try and get them a nice outfit for the special day (Although it’s been hard cause it gets too dirty, how did they do it for us?).
- Along with the cake I serve quesillo (flan) and/or jello.
- Once they grow older, even if they don’t have a piñata I will always have a little cake and sing “Cumpleaños” for them so their birthday won´t go without notice (Para que no pase por debajo de la mesa!).
- The only thing I can’t control is the total time the guests will stay, people are not used to staying more than 2-3 hours in a kid’s party, and I’m also getting used to that after so many years living here.
One of the main differences in between the parties is the punctuality. In Venezuela the invitation might be for 3 p.m. but people are not arriving until 5pm! I still can’t believe it! But it’s true, the party will actually start getting crowed around 6 p.m. I can’t deal with that timing anymore. I love the fact that if you invite at 4pm here you will have somebody knocking at your door at 4pm sharp, guarranted. I love it because you can count on that no matter what and because of it you are able to plan accordingly.
The fact that we can combine both cultures into these celebrations is what I love the most. We can take what we like from each culture and make these parties remembered in a special way for our kids, it’s so flexible!
One of the notable differences in Venezuelan birthdays is the special song they sing to the cumpleañero: Ay, Que Noche Tan Preciosa. If you´ve ever been to a Venezuelan birthday you know it´s looooong and sweet. The video below includes the lyrics to the song so you don´t feel left out next time you go to un cumpleaños venezolano!