How are birthdays celebrated in Chile? My friend Paola explains:
When someone’s birthday is getting close, we always worry about what gift to buy. Typical gifts include stuffed animals, chocolates, flowers, books, clothing, fragrances, children toys, other accessories, etc..
We always sing the song “Cumpleaños Feliz” (Happy Birthday) and if the people in attendance are feeling festive, we’ll take the birthday person in the middle of our group and throw them up in the air, often as many times as they are years old.
At the Office
Celebrating birthdays in the office is usually pretty lame and boring. As soon as the candles are blown out and the cake is served, everyone goes back to work as if nothing happened. It is also hard to continue celebrating if the boss is near.
When celebrating at home, you can organize a surprise party (it could be a costume party). You’ll make a list of typical items used at a birthday party: balloons, streamers, confetti, drinks and most importantly the cake. It must be a good quality cake or else everyone will comment that the cake was only so-so.
The most typical birthday cakes are pineapple and black forest cakes. The pineapple cake is made of moist cake, filled with with whipped cream and pineapple and then decorated with pineapple. The black forest is made of moist chocolate cake and stuffed with raspberry jam and cream, then decorated with chocolate chips and cherries. Merengue lúcuma is another popular cake flavor made from the lúcuma fruit grown in Chile.
When the birthday person is blowing out the cake, it is tradition to push the cake towards to person so the candles blacken their face or they get covered in icing.
When we want the birthday to last longer, we celebrate with barbecue, karaoke and dancing. In the case of no barbecue, perhaps a cocktail is served.
Children birthdays are the hardest work. First, invite friends with a typical invitation card, then explain to the mother where the party is and check who’s coming to make sure you have all the things and groceries for the party.
On top of this you add the piñata, the surprises, the toy trumpets and anything that is fun for them. To have a spectacular birthday: hire a clown, get inflatable games or have someone disguised as a famous cartoon character to play with children.
How about you? What is your favorite Chilean birthday tradition?