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, as we do in the U.S. I remember my daughter's first birthday party when we moved back 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.
In large cities, such as Rio and São Paulo, for instance, children's birthdays are commonly celebrated at casas de festa (or party houses), where you can order everything from the cake to decorations and entertainment. I even went to a lovely party in Rio at our neighborhood café one morning!
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/businesses called "doceiras." Take a look at these brigadeiros de colher made by Nanda Carino in Rio de Janeiro and, please, please, visit her blog Doce Mistura to see more of her amazing creations. Wouldn't you just love to have her cater your birthday party? If you live in a small city, there are women who make docinhos and salgadinhos for parties from their homes.
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.
Back to Maria-Brazil.org