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Birthday Traditions Around The World



Birthday Traditions Around The World
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 6
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   6.84

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    baklava, Feliz, gateaux, Joyeux, mainstay, sheng, affair, initiation, lavish, greek, provided, honoree, various, participate, transition, greeting
     content words:    Happy Birthday To You, Many Chinese, In Kenya, In Mexico, Feliz Cumpleanos, In China, Sheng Ri Kuai Le, In Brazil, Feliz Aniversario, In France


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Birthday Traditions Around The World
By Joyce Furstenau
  

1     A birthday celebration in the U.S.A. is usually a family affair. Whether it is for children or grownups, there is usually a cake. Often, there is the same number of candles on the cake as the age of the person having the birthday. Guests sing a familiar song called Happy Birthday To You for the honoree. Guests bring presents for the honoree. The guests may play games for fun or eat cake and ice cream together. It is a very special celebration.
 
2     Birthdays are not always celebrated the same way in other countries. Many birthday celebrations are tied to religious days. Others have special traditions that are unique to that particular country.
 
3     In Mexico, many children celebrate their birthdays with a piñata. A piñata is a large papier-mâché object formed like an animal or other favorite shape. It is filled with candy and treats. The piñata is hung by a rope from a tree or post. Blindfolded children take turns hitting the piñata with a stick. When the piñata is broken, the treats fall out. The children quickly gather as many goodies as they can.
 
4     In China, many citizens celebrate two birthdays. They celebrate one on the solar calendar and one on the lunar calendar. For example, if a boy were born on July 31, 1972, his lunar birthday would fall on June 20. Chinese think that a child's first birthday is a very important event. At this celebration they will put the baby in the center of a group of objects or toys. Whichever item the baby picks up will tell the child's future. For example, if a baby girl picks up a pen, then she will one day become a writer or a scholar. Many Chinese like to eat noodles on their birthdays. That is because they believe that noodles symbolize long life. So for good luck, a bowl of yummy noodles is a must have dish at birthday celebrations!
 
5     In Greece, a family celebrates a child's birthday each month after it is born. This continues until the child is a year old. Greek desserts are served at the parties. Some of these are cheese or spinach pie and baklava. Presents are exchanged in much the same way as the American tradition.

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