4 Latin American Ways to Honor Birthdays

Thanks to an article in Latina magazine, I can now share with you some of the unique ways in which those of Latin American heritage celebrate birthdays. Or, as someone would say in Portuguese, aniversário. 

Peru is on my list of places to go for birthday celebrations. Apparently the birthday celebrant gets to indulge in un torta de chocolate (chocolate cake). Others might eat pastel peruviano, a crusty bread filled with raisins. However, just as at home I prefer my pie and cake without ice cream, I’d probably defer from an accompanying scoop of helado lucuma, an ice cream made with the lucuma fruit, native to Peru and Ecuador.

I could handle Colombia — as long as the typical egg was cracked over my head early in the day, before I was dolled up for a night out of festivities.

I’ll steer clear of Mexico, though. Apparently they like to sing LAS MAÑANITAS and then push the person’s face into the cake. What a waste of a perfectly good cake! Sounds a little like the smash cakes I wrote about for one-year-old’s birthdays here in North America. On the flip side, I wouldn’t have minded going when I was 15 — having a Quinceañera Celebration would have been fun! Although it looks as if you still get your face smashed into the cake:

Latin Birthday traditions

Photo credit: amslerPIX via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

I’m also going to give Argentina and Brazil a miss on my birthday. I don’t have any interest in having my ears pulled, thank you very much. This also means I’ll be steering clear of Hungary (where they also have this tradition).

Interestingly, there was no mention of the piñata though! Maybe it’s like spaghetti (which we associate with Italy, but isn’t actually from there?).

What country would you want to travel to for your birthday? Imagine you could go anywhere in the world…



One today? Smash it!

It isn’t a first birthday until someone has cake all over his face. Or, in the case of some buzzkill friends of mine who WILL be named (Jay & Jenny), yogurt!


I’m all for healthy eating (well, 86% for it at least), but on your birthday you deserve cake. Even if you are only 1-year-old. Witness my own son’s first birthday cupcake smoosh-a-thon. Yes, it does deserve a-thon because, as you may remember, he had a Charlie Brown party but I had already made the cupcakes expecting friends. So, we had plenty of monkey-faced cakes for him to chow down upon.


If nothing else the birthday cake eating/smashing moment is a great one for posterity. Here are some other great images of youthful cake glee I discovered via google.

Cake smashing is its own sub-genre on Pinterest. Here’s some great photography to enjoy!

Of course there is now actually a trend to provide the birthday girl or boy with her or his own cake that they can use for finger food and face stuffing. That seems a little much for a kid who won’t remember the moment past their next nap. Nevertheless, you only turn one once. Let the baby eat cake!

Share your own pics and thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to see them! The messier the better.