Birthday parties for children are traditional for Brazilians and are celebrated through a series of rituals that involve everything from the party invitation cards to the happy birthday song. In this article you will see the main characteristics of birthday parties for children in Brazil.
In Brazil, children's parties are getting bigger, more luxurious and expensive. In the past, parties were held at home, decoration was simple and the number of guests was smaller. Today the parties are held in specific venues with many guests. Parents are also invited to the parties - as the drop off system is not common in Brazil - most of the time they remain at the party along with their children.
Birthday Party Venues
Some Brazilians still choose to host their childrens party in their homes, inviting just family and close friends. However, there are many people that prefer to organize big parties in special venues, known as buffet infantil or Birthday Party Venues for Children.
During the 1980s the concept of Birthday Party Venues for Children emerged in Brazil and the first spaces dedicated to children's parties appeared in the city of São Paulo. This segment has an annual growth of approximately 30% in the country. In São Paulo alone there are more than 1800 venues.
On average, the cost of a party for 50 to 100 guests is between BRL 4 000 and BRL 6 000, but there are some venues in São Paulo where services costs over BRL 11 thousand for just one party and have a month-waiting list to book a party.
Parents do not need to worry about anything, as the venue is responsible for decoration, food, beverages and entertainment. Currently, 85% of venues have their focus on electronic toys such as mini roller coasters. While 15% try to use old retro games which has attracted people from classes A, B and C+.
Generally the children's parties in these venues last 4 hours and you can choose the period of the party either: 1 PM to 5 PM or 6 PM to 10 PM. The “happy birthday” song is always sung one hour before finishing the party.
The Birthday Cake
As in many countries around the world, for Brazilians the cake is the most important item of the birthday party. Without it there is no happy birthday song or celebration. Usually, the cake is the last thing served and people are already satisfied, so there is a lot of leftover cake.
In Brazil, the birthday boy or girl gives the first slice of the cake to a very special person, usually the mother or father, after this the other guests can be served.
Food and Beverages
In Brazil, salgadinhos will always be included in the menu of a children’s party - this is a kind of dumpling typical in the country. There are many types of salgadinhos that can be served, which can be fried or baked. Among them, the main ones are:
- Coxinha: a popular food in Brazil consisting of chopped or shredded chicken, covered in dough, molded into a shape resembling a chicken leg then battered or fried
- Empadinha: a small, round, mini pie with a filling often of palm tree heart, shrimp or chicken
- Esfira: small pizza like bread with a topping that is usually meat, chicken or cream cheese, served either open or folded into a triangular shaped pastry
- Pastelzinho: a thin and small pastry envelope with different fillings, deep fried in vegetable oil. The most common fillings are ground beef, cheese, palm tree heart, cream cheese and chicken
- Kibe: a torpedo-shaped, deep-fried croquette made with bulgur wheat and ground beef
It also common to find at these parties hot dogs, mini pizzas and popcorn. There are some parties that serve meals like pasta, rice and beans.
Docinhos are another typical food for children’s birthday parties, which are bite size sweets. Here are the main types of docinhos that you will definitely find at these parties:
- Brigadeiro: the most typical sweet from Brazil. It looks like a chocolate truffle and has a caramel texture. Once cooled, it is rolled into small balls and covered with chocolate sprinkles
- Beijinho: it is similar than the brigadeiro, made of condensed milk mixed with butter and coconut. It is then rolled into little balls and finally covered with grated coconut
- Cajuzinho: this is the same recipe as the brigadeiro, but the chocolate is substituted with crushed peanut
If you are invited to any children's party, remember that it is essential to give a gift to the birthday boy or girl. It is considered impolite to show up to the party without a gift. Usually at the parties there is someone in charge to pick up the gifts, identify them and store them safely.
The decoration is very important to the party and is always thematic. Everything is decorated according to the theme, from the entrance of the party to the tables. The table where the cake is displayed is the main space of the party and also the most decorated part, where everybody poses to take pictures.
Happy Birthday Song
This is the most expected moment of the party, when everybody sings the famous birthday song. In Brazil there is version of the song named Parabéns a você, which means literally congratulations to you. When the song is sung it usually means that the party is almost ending. No one should leave the party without singing Parabéns a você, because it is not polite. Someone usually announces this moment, calling attention of all guests. In more luxurious parties the birthday boy or girl will change clothes just for this moment and there is a grand entrance with lights and sound effects. To sing the birthday song, Brazilians clap hands while singing, in addition, they also sing other songs related to birthdays. So, if you do not know the lyrics of the song, there is no problem, just clap your hands.