We gonna party like it’s my birthday

Birthday cakes!
Photo courtesy of Katharina

Are you getting ready to celebrate your birthday in Germany? If you’re American, you might be in for a big surprise because the rules are a little different.

First of all, don’t expect anyone to wish you “happy birthday” a nanosecond before midnight. It’s considered bad luck. This obviously eliminates the possibility of celebrating a birthday month or week.

You should also be prepared to spend some time in the kitchen. You, as the birthday person, are expected to bring in cake or cookies for your colleagues. Furthermore, if you get together with some friends, you have to pay for something (for example, treating them to drinks).

Milestone birthdays (30, 50, etc), are a massive celebration. You normally rent out a large space – I’ve been to parties in restaurants to even rooms at a Red Cross facility and almost everyone brings dessert. Image about 8 different homemade cakes sitting on a table, all waiting to be sampled by the crowd. I went to one milestone party that was 90s themed, complete with costumes, 90s music and even a trivia game. That was the best party in Germany I attended since it was well thought out and entertaining. There was literally something for everyone.

I’ll just stick to good ol American birthdays – where it’s my birthday month, week, and day; my friends treat me to dinner or drinks or both; and I’m not baking or cooking for anyone. I wouldn’t want it any other way. Happy birthday!


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