Birthday parties are a family affair in Brazil, for all ages to mingle, from babies to grandmas. So, remember to invite your children's friends AND their families. As a rule, especially in smaller cities, one would not have a party just for children, like in the U.S. I remember my daughter's first birthday party when we moved to the U.S. I was very sad, because the only adults were my husband and I. After that, if we didn't take the kids out, I would invite other parents to join us.
Foods served are usually small savory pasties and appetizers called "salgadinhos" and small sweets called "docinhos," seen in the photos above. Oh, and cake, of course, with candles and all that. Very often, there'll be creamy coconut candy wrapped in colorful papers decorating the table. These are just about the yummiest birthday sweets you'll ever eat. You can order all these goodies from specialty stores called "doceiras." In Rio, we have an absolute favorite in the neighborhood of Leblon, called Petits Fours. If you live in a small city, there are women who make docinhos and salgadinhos for parties.
The birthday song is Parabéns a você, a version of Happy Birthday to You, which was introduced to Brazilians by American tourists. The Portuguese words came from a national competition among the listeners of Rádio Nacional in Rio de Janeiro in 1941. The winner was a young pharmacist from São Paulo named Berta. This story is told by Sérgio Cabral in his book No tempo de Almirante. Would you like to know the Brazilian words? Here they are: Parabéns a você/nesta data querida/muitas felicidades/muitos anos de vida.