Birthday Traditions in Spain
In America, celebrating another year of life seems to be a big deal. We celebrate with balloons, cake, candles, presents, spankings, songs, family and friends. A special age to enter in America is the sweet sixteen. Throughout the day of the birthday guests say “Happy Birthday” to the one who is celebrating another year of life. Many other countries celebrate birthdays some being more serious ceremonies and others being like the American celebration. In Spain the equivalent to the sweet sixteen is the Quinceañera. This is a big birthday celebration when a girl turns fifteen. This age of fifteen is a right of passage. It is when a girl is no longer considered a girl but a women. The Quinceañera consists of a church celebration, mariachi band, and lots of friends and family. The girl who is turning fifteen gets a lavish dress and wears heels because the flats she use to wear represent childhood. The girl gets blessed, passes down a porcelain doll to a younger girl to show that she is giving up her childhood, has fourteen attendants to represent the past fourteen years of her life, and the first dance is with her father.
In Spain an average birthday celebration would not be as elaborate as the Quinceañera. A song would be sung to celebrate the life of the birthday boy of girl. They eat cake and sing a song before eating. They have a tradition that the one whose birthday it is has the first bite of the cake. All guest stand around and watch as he or she takes a bite of the cake with no utensils. Many guests would say “Feliz Cumpleaños” throughout the day. Something different in Spain from America is that they don’t celebrate with presents. It is more about celebrating the person themself than spending a lot of money on the birthday.