Birthday Week!

Its my Birthday this week. Yay! Its a non-significant Birthday this year so there won’t be a massive party or any magnanimous event to mark it, however I am a big softy when it comes to them. I think they should be celebrated. You never know which one will be your last for a start off! So in true Maria-style I have embarked on a week long plan of celebrations. The key elements of a Birthday, cards and gifts, party, cake and songs, are what this post is all about.

Its not all about gift giving

I talked about how important I think card are was last week, you can read that here. For me Birthdays are about making someone feel a little bit special and how better to do that than with a card or note. Granted gifts are pretty cool too but the art of giving is most special only when its sincere.

How do we differ from The Dutch

Birthdays are celebrated differently all around the world in different countries and cultures. In Holland the do things slightly differently. For a start of they don’t wish people “Happy Birthday” like we do in good old Blighty. They congratulate each other. Yes each other. In England everyone wishes the Birthday Boy/Girl a ‘Happy Birthday’ in The Netherlands EVERYBODY gets congratulating on the Birthday of the person who’s actual Birthday it is. Parents, friends, neighbours, long distant relatives etc. there really is no stopping them. How strange – non of my friends will congratulate my mom and dad for me even though the did a fairly good job!

slagroomtaart-300x235Cake. In my opinion its the best part of Birthdays. There’s no calories in Birthday cake (yes I know thats not true and clearly where I have been going wrong all these years!). The type of Birthday cake we eat here in England is hugely different to the type they eat in The Netherlands. They, traditionally, have a Slagromtaart – literally meaning Cream Cake.  I think the spanish do something similar too I can vaguely remember being away for my mom’s birthday and the cake being similar. They usually contain nuts and fruit and cream and very minimal sponge.

Parties. I am a terrible party girl when I get going. Once I’ve got into the zone and the music is on and I’ve had a drink I really am in it for the long run! For my 21st Birthday I had a very sophisticated ‘Afternoon Tea Party’ which started at 2pm and carried on until my last guests left at 3am! It was a great day afternoon night  24hours! The Dutch have certain timing for Birthday celebrations, usually held at the home of the person who’s birthday it is. Similar to a kids party in the UK there are set times e.g. 2pm-6pm. Everyone comes, has cake and a coffee and then buggers off home. This structure probably wouldn’t go a miss in my life! I don’t like the end of parties when people leave. It makes me so sad!

Songs. In the UK we have an iced sponge cake with candles, half way through the party / at the end of the meal the cake comes. We sing “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear XXX, Happy Birthday to you.” The Dutch, apparently, have their own version:

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It is a similar principle to our version, especially the ‘For he’s/she’s a jolly good fellow…’  I’ve never seen or heard the Dutch version sang until I started researching for this post so I’m not sure entirely how true this is.


My Birthday week is shaping up something like this:

IMG_0591Meals out: 6

Nights out: 4

Bottles of Fizz expected: 8+

Plus a few days in London to see Les Miserables!

(yes I am aware that its only technically my birthday for 24hrs but who cares! I have lots of friends *cough cough*)

People are reading my blog from all over the world (I’m just as shocked at that too), how do you celebrate your Birthday?

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