N O R T H  AND  C E N T R A L  A M E R I C A

Canada - Greasing the nose with butter or margarine is a common practice among the Canadians.. In Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland) the birthday child is ambushed and their nose is greased for good luck. The idea is that the greased nose makes the child too slippery for bad luck to catch them. This tradition can be traced back to Scottish roots. In Quebec the birthday person receives a punch for each year they are alive and then one extra for good luck.

Mexico - The piñata, made out of paper mache and in the form of an animal, is filled with goodies and hung from the ceiling. The birthday child is blindfolded and is required to hit the piñata until it is cracked open. All the children present there share the goodies. Las Mananitas is sung. When a girl turns 15, the birthday is celebrated with a special mass in her honor. A party is then given to introduce her to everyone as a young woman. The father dances a waltz with her. People believe that the child who breaks open the piñata will have good luck.

Native American Tradition - Native American tribes have always laid emphasis on milestones in a child's development rather than the day a child is born. The day the child takes its first steps, accepts the responsibilities as an adult or gets married, is equally, if not more significant. The Winnebago Indians celebrate birthdays on a large scale which can be attended by almost anyone. The news of such a grand party usually spreads through the word of mouth. The birthday cake is taken around and shown to the guests. It is considered honorable to be asked to cut the birthday cake. After the meal, the children engage in a hand game. An adult holds a bone or a stone in one of the palms and the children have to guess where it is.

America - Balloons and streamers are a must for the children's party in America. Lots of friends are invited. The birthday person can choose to do whatever they like. Swimming, bowling, camping trips are some of the options. The cake is topped with lighted candles. Generally the number of candles corresponds a person's age. It is believed that if a person makes a wish and blows all the candles in one breath, his wish will come true.

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