- Sophie &Friends
When we decorate for our own fiestas we often hang papel picado (colorful tissue paper squares with cut-out images that are strung together to make banners), giant peppers, big sombreros, maracas, cacti, piñatas, mariachi figures...
While I was in Mexico, I got a peek at a great fiesta the other day when I was dropping some stuff off to a friend. And it looked totally AMERICAN! Over the fence I could see balloons (and not just a simple bouquet, mind you – it was a swirling swag of yellow and black balloons twenty feet long) hanging in the front entry of the tortilla factory. The whole end of the block was closed off, there was music blaring, and a DJ on a microphone was rousing the guests to dance the Macarena! There was a yellow and black piñata suspended from the electric wires overhead – so clearly the theme here was either bumblebees or these guys were serious Steelers fans…
The best part about seeing this was that I realized that parties everywhere are pretty much the same: lots of friends and family, gathering together, doing fun stuff. As I watched from my friend’s balcony, I saw the adults play the balloon pop game (a game where the contestants race to a chair with a blown-up balloon that they have to try to pop using only their traseros, or what we would call our bottoms)! They also did a potato sack races in giant plastic garbage bags, and lifted the birthday girl high in the air on a chair. She squealed and laughed with amazed delight; it was just awesome.
It was fun to watch everyone laughing and celebrating together, and a wonderful warmth spread over me as I realized that no matter where you are, birthdays are all the same! We may have different languages, customs, and traditions, but really what it boils down to is celebrating the special life and joy that each individual brings to this world.