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Archive for October, 2011

Birthday parties are always fun especially when you are a kid! I remember being so excited about my birthday party that I used to make myself sick. My Mom would organize such great parties with amazing cakes, which I don’t think that I could ever enjoy, because I always worked myself into such a state of excitement beforehand.  Those were the days when we lived for our birthdays and for our friend’s birthdays.

Jardin de Fiesta! Party Venue

Two weeks ago we went to a good friend’s of our son’s birthday party. He turned 6. Hubby and I don’t have any kids yet though we are in the process of “trying” –translation…lots of sex! Kid’s birthday parties in Mexico are very different than what I remember in Canada. I have been to a few of them during my 15 years in Cancun and they all seem to have one thing in common. In Mexico a child’s birthday involves the whole family, friends of the family and parents of the children. WOW!!! You do the math…. When I was a kid birthday parties generally meant, a few kids, a theme, games, cake, presents, and then your parents picked you up. If you are already reeling from the idea of the number of invitees now imagine that your child is in a class of 30 kids or so and that the custom is that you invite all of the kids to the party…now times that by parents and friends! Are you starting to get the picture?

Musical chairs

This particular birthday party was held at a jardin de fiestas (entertainment venue), which is quite common, as where in the world would you fit all of your guests otherwise? There was a swimming pool, a basketball court, an area with chairs and tables under a large palapa and a grill. And like most jardin de fiestas they are usually found off the beaten track as savvy investors buy up large parcels of land (cheap) and install a pool, a palapa, or sometimes a large hall to hold various events and then rent them out.

The Birthday Family

For Nico’s birthday they provided home-cooked food for everyone. At other events, which I have attended in the past, they have either been catered or a grill-man has been hired to cook the food at the party, which the hosts have brought in advance. Generally speaking guests bring their own alcoholic drinks but other non-alcoholic beverages are often provided. Last weekend there were about 60 guests of which 25 were children. It was a fairly hot day so the majority of the kids and some parents enjoyed cooling off in the pool, while others played on the jungle gym, while the adults sipped their drinks in the shade swapping stories.

Whacking the piñata!

After filling our tummies with cochinita, pastries and other snacks the games began for the kids. First up musical chairs and then some other familiar games ensued. Next the much anticipated event began—the piñata! All the kids lined up single file according to height (to give the little ones a chance first) in front of the strung up effigy of Batman. A resounding “whack, whack” proceeded as each child took their turn striking “Batman” until finally “he” exploded and candy fell everywhere. In a frenzied-like state the kids fell upon the floor to gather up as much candy as they could hold in little plastic bags.

The piñata aftermath

Once the piñata festivities came to an end it was time for dessert!! As Nico blew out the candles on his Spiderman decorated cake his face was unceremoniously pushed into the chocolaty, gooey, spongy cake, which is the custom in Mexico. For anyone who has never heard of this it is quite normal in Latin countries for the young and old alike. It usually starts off with people chanting “mordida mordida mordida” (bite bite bite) after the birthday song has been sung. The song that is always sung is Las Mañanitas.

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 little morning song that King David sang

Because today is your saint’s day and we are singing it for you

 Wake up, my dear, wake up, look it is already dawn

 The birds are already singing and the moon has set

How beautiful 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, it is morning, look it is already dawn.

The birthday boy!

Once everyone had enjoyed some cake hubby and I left and the party continued with Nicolas opening his gifts and as the last guests left the party the little ones were handed small party bags with a few gifts of appreciation from the hosts. It had been a lovely day spent with friends and I was once again reminded of some of the reasons that I love Mexico.

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