Pinoys or Kabayans love to celebrate birthdays! This could be one of the biggest differences of Filipinos from other cultures. For them, birthdays are not just a celebration of life, and even if they are thousands of miles away from home, it’s all about spending time with family.
Here's how they make the most of their birthday celebrations;
Come one, come all! That is the super-extended Filipino family culture. It means that every friend or relative, no matter how distant the blood tie, within a day's travel must be invited or involved in the planning of the birthday party.
Apart from how they love to eat, Filipinos love to sing. They are obsessed with singing karaoke and it is a must during birthday festivities. The party just won't start without it. Whether you’re in the US, UK, or the Middle East, there will always be a karaoke system called Magic Sing or Magic Mic in every Filipino household. Now, almost everyone who has a smartphone also has a mini-bluetooth microphone karaoke or apps like Smule where they can sing along and share their songs as well.
It's not a Pinoy birthday if there are no cakes from Goldilocks or Red Ribbon (famous pastry shop in the Philippines). If not, anyone who knows how to bake would definitely bring a home-baked Pinoy cheese or yema cake and the uber favourite ube (Taro or Purple Yam) cake.
Celebrators often serve Filipino dishes enjoyed back home. This is served in buffet style or the now popular 'boodle fight' style. Due to schedule constraints, and to help their fellow Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW), they would agree to do a potluck instead. Each set of guests would be assigned a dish to bring to the party. Filipinos are generally generous and hospitable, and they make sure to keep everyone happy and the same goes for the food they bring to the table.
A delicious practice adopted from the Chinese is the “'long life” noodles. This food symbolism of longevity is a very important part of the Filipino birthday meal. These should be uncut during preparation. It can be anything from the Asian inspired 'pancit bihon', to a dish derived from Italian cooking which is the Pinoy style spaghetti (sweet sauce with hotdogs).
If there’s one thing that Filipinos are scared to death of happening during parties, it is running short of food. No matter how tight the budget is, the celebrator would definitely spend as much for the food just to make sure the guests enjoy their lunch or dinner. Understandably, there are a lot of leftovers when the party ends. These are shared and taken home by guests for later consumption. This is one Kabayan custom that is practiced everywhere in the world.
Being an OFW makes it challenging to attend family occasions back home. This makes friends, co-workers, and neighbours a primary support. Instead of the family coming together for a birthday party, the celebrator gathers friends for a birthday blowout. Restaurants, in this case, become the venue so everyone can relax and enjoy the celebrations.