Mexican Fiesta -3yr- Marachi Band
Elizabeth in Beaverton, Oregon USA
Mexican Fiesta - Age 3 It is Mexican tradition to really celebrate when a child turns three. So when my son Pablo turned 3, we had a huge "Pachanga" (party) with over a hundred guests, young and old.
We held it at our church, since part of the party was a traditional Mexican ceremony during which we presented our son to the church and renewed his baptismal covenant. We had guests arive 30 minutes prior to the ceremony and they were serenaded by a mariachi band.
It was great seeing the kids (and adults, too) dancing in a circle to the tune of "It's a Small World After All". The band also accompanied two songs during the ceremony, both which our son had learned in Sunday school.
We kept the ceremony short and included all the kids in it, and then followed the marachi band ala Pied Piper to the party room, where each child was given a shiny crown (bought from Oriental Trading Co.) to wear. Our son was dressed in a black and gold mariachi suit, complete with sombrero and cowboy boots, which my husband bought while in Mexico City.
The room was decorated with balloons in bright colors and "Papel Picado" which is a typical Mexican decoration made of colorful placemat-sized pieces of tissue paper, cut into designs and strung together, which we bought in Mexico. We also hung sombreros on the wall and had two star shaped pinatas hanging from the ceiling, bought from a Mexican grocery store. Tables were decked out in brightly colored plastic tablecloths and homemade tissue paper flowers were used as centerpiences.
We served a buffet of tostadas which could be topped with "Tinga", "Picadillo" or Tex-Mex style ground beef. Brightly colored dinner ware, bought from the local party store was used. Thanks to my sisters-in-laws for help cooking, my friends for the use of their crock pots, and to numerous adult male cousins who helped my husband set up and clean-up. A friend of mine made the cake which looked like a pinata. Very cute.
After we sang "Happy Birthday" accompanied by the mariachis, they continued to play while all the children decorated cupcakes with frosting and an assortment of sprinkles. This was a great activity for the kids. Our son ate mostly mini-m&ms instead of decorating, but he had a blast.
Then we broke the pinatas, one for the preschool aged kids and another for the older children. In true Mexican style, the rope that the pinata hangs from is moved around by a couple of adults, so the pinata is always moving. It's harder to break this way, and keeps everyone laughing.
Each child was given a goodie bag with Spanish phrases on it (Happy Birthday etc…) which we purchased at a Mexican grocery store. Most of the candy and goodies were chocolates and typical party favors, but we added some Mexican sweets as well. We ended the party with dancing (to The Wiggles, Barney in Spanish, and Sesame Street in Spanish).
Most of the guests had never been to a Hispanic party before and people remarked that they'd never been to a party that was more fun. The only thing I will do differently (for Pablo's baby brother when he turns three) is to hire someone to serve the food so I could enjoy my guests more and spend more time with the birthday boy.
NOTE: Because of the number of guests, we decided it would be too overwhelming for our son and his little friends to sit through opening the gifts. Normally, I feel it's bad manners not to open presents at a birthday party, since it is fun for the giver to watch and a great chance to teach the birthday child how to be gracious and thankful. So, I warned people ahead of time on the invitation, that gifts would not be opened at the party. We wrote personal thank you notes, which we made ourselves, and included Pablo's photo in his mariachi suit and a great big GRACIAS!
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