Well, you guessed it – today is Joost’s birthday, woo! And as you probably also guessed, I thoroughly enjoyed filling the weekend full of surprises, because it’s not just a birthday, but birthweek around here. In preparation of a few friends coming over tonight, I setup a fun and festive little table we’ll use for gifts and snacks (will be sure to share the final setup and other surprises next week). But nonetheless, I made sure Joost had a plentiful stash of his favorite Dutch candies for his three months in The States, Vanilla Coke (finding this in the NL is like finding a needle in a haystack), yummy – or so I hope – cupcakes (icing and all made by me!) and a few gifts to open. Cheers to 24, Yoshi baby!
Now, on to the Dutch birthday celebration traditions – some you’ll find the same, most you’ll find different.
1. Scratch happy birthday – it’s gefeliciteerd, which translates to congratulations. So when you see the birthday boy/girl, you say, “GEFELICITEERD!”
2. Let’s say today is Babette’s birthday and Babette has a boyfriend/husband – people would also congratulate her boyfriend by saying, “gefelicteerd met de verjaardag van Babette” (congratulations with the birthday of Babette). Interesting, huh? I would also like to think along with the congratulations comes presents for the significant other, but pretty sure I can keep on dreaming.
3. When at a birthday party, upon arriving you greet *everyone* with a, “gefeliciteerd.” Side note – at any type of party, you always greet everyone there with a handshake or three kisses and name introduction. Yes, everyone!
4. Next up – The Dutch Circle. Thankfully I’ve never experienced this custom, but it is alive and well in Dutch culture. The just of it – while at a birthday party, everyone sits in a circle and talks to each other… the entire time. So you might have the person next to you yelling to talk to the person on the opposite side and the other person next to you talking to a few people on the other side of you, all while you’re trying to talk to the person 5 people to the right of you. Sounds… awkward if you ask me (funny enough, I’ve also heard it called The Dutch Circle of Hell by those who aren’t dutchies – seriously).
5. It is also quite common to schedule different groups of people to come over at certain times of the birthday party (i.e. – family, early afternoon; friends, evening).
Hope you enjoyed reading a little bit about Dutch birthdays!
Until next time – happy birthday, Joost and tot ziens!
XX – Whitney