Birthday parties are special times for friends and family to gather and celebrate a loved one. While all birthdays are special, certain celebrations have a unique place in certain cultures. Have you heard of these traditional rites of passage?
The First Grab
In Chinese culture, the first birthday is a big deal. With a history of so many infant deaths, the first birthday is a milestone that shows the tenacity and health of a child. That’s not all. The tradition of the first grab (as it’s known in the United States) is believed to be an indicator of the child’s future. At the birthday celebration, various objects are placed near the one year old, each symbolic in some way. For instance, there might be a pen, a stalk of celery, a stamp, a stethoscope, or a calculator.
The child is placed near the collection of items and is allowed to grab one that it deems most interesting. Whichever item the child picks and successfully hands to a parent determines their future career. That’s the first grab! If the tike grabs a pen it may mean a future in journalism, the stalk of celery indicates a hard worker, a stamp indicates a person of great power, the stethoscope points to the field of science or medicine, and the calculator to the fields of math or technology.
Bat Mitzvah and Bar Mitzvah
Jews around the world prepare their children for the rites of passage known as the Bat Mitzvah (for girls) or Bar Mitzvah (for boys). This celebration occurs when the girls turn 12 and when the boys turn 13. The Jewish faith believes these are the ages young followers are able to demonstrate their commitment to the faith on their own rather than simply relying on the faith of their parents. The coming of age ceremony in a synagogue is typically followed by a celebration that resembles a giant birthday party.
In Latin cultures, the biggest birthday celebration centers around the day a young girl turns 15. The quinceanera typically begins with a Catholic mass in which the birthday girl renews her baptism vows and affirms her commitment to her faith and family. A quinceanera will often look like a wedding with the birthday girl and her attendants wearing formal dresses or being transported in fancy cars. The celebration after mass includes food and dancing among family and friends.
Coming of age in America has less to do with religious tradition and more to do with newly acquired privileges. The “sweet 16” birthday party is a milestone because that is the age young girls can obtain their drivers’ licenses. It’s also an excuse to dress up and have a party with dozens of a teen girl’s closest friends.
Regardless of the culture, the milestone, or the age, nothing says “Happy Birthday” like a party with a little dancing. If you’re looking for a birthday party DJ in San Antonio, look no further. We’d love to grant the wish before you even blow out the candles.