12 International Birthday Traditions You’ll Want To Try

Cake is great, but why not try something new this year? Here are some fun birthday traditions from around the world to try with your friends and family. Celebrate each day with Hallmark.

1. Russia: A Piece of the Pie

Andrew Malone / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: andrewmalone

Instead of the cake some of us might be used to receiving and sharing on our birthdays, Russian birthday celebrations typically center around a birthday pie with a greeting carved into the crust itself.

2. China: Noodle Party

Scott Swigart / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: smswigart

In China, the person celebrating his or her birthday traditionally eats long noodles, a symbol of longevity and health.

3. South Africa: The Key of Life

Taki Steve / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: 13519089@N03

In South Africa, friends of family give the person celebrating their birthday a key — typically on their 21st birthday — to symbolize the opening of new doors in the future.

4. Norway: Birthday Dance

On their birthday day, children in Norway get to stand up in front of the entire class and pick a dance partner for a special dance. Talk about pressure!

5. Panama: Piñata Party

Purple Sherbet Photography / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: purplesherbet

In Panama, birthdays are a big deal. Huge parties where friends and extended family are invited take place, and the birthday song is often sung in both Spanish and English. The focal point of the whole celebration is a large piñata filled with confetti and candy.

6. New Zealand: Yearly Claps

Along with the presentation of a cake adorned with candles and the singing of the birthday song, New Zealanders clap in unison, one time for each year the person celebrating his or her birthday has lived.

7. Denmark: Birthday Flag

storebukkebruse / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: tusnelda

In Denmark, birthdays are synonymous with flags. A large Danish flag is usually flown outside the window of the person celebrating their birthday and flags are placed around their beds while they are sleeping.

8. Israel: Chair Lifts

Omer Simkha / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: homer_s

In Israel and Latvia, it is tradition for the person whose birthday it is to be seated in a chair and lifted up and down by their friends and family for the number of years they are turning.

9. Nepal: Forehead Smudge


In Nepal, children receive a smudge of yogurt and colored powder on their foreheads for good luck on their birthday.

10. Jamaica: Yearly Flouring

Brendon Burton / (CC BY http://2.0) / Via Flickr: burtoo

Aside from a fun celebration including singing and dancing, a child celebrating his or her birthday in Jamaica has a yearly flouring (getting covered in flour) to look forward to.

Or start your own tradition!

Turn a #birthdayfail into a #birthdaywin with a Hallmark card.

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