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The Difference Between a Latino Kid Party and an Anglo Birthday Party

Submitted by on December 16, 2009 – 5:13 am28 Comments

latinaish logoBy Señora López

Recently, we spent much of the day at a birthday party for a little girl in El Chiquito’s class. The party was at a roller skating rink. Roller skating is one thing I, a child of the 80’s, am hands down better at than my kids. They had never been before. In fact, they didn’t know what roller skating was when we received the party invitation. I had to explain that roller skates are like shoes with wheels. They still seemed uncertain until I showed them a YouTube video of people skating. (Kids today! I pull up a YouTube video at least once a week to show my children something “antique.”)

Anyway, I skated for a few songs and only fell once, (when I tripped over El Niño Grande who was on the ground more than on his feet.) At one point Señor López and I left the niños clinging to the wall while we skated around holding hands.

The niños had fun at the party. The only family member not in attendance was Suegra, who lives with us, and she was not happy about it. She asked to come, (why she would want to come to a little gringa’s birthday party when she doesn’t know the child, doesn’t speak English, doesn’t roller skate, hates pizza and can’t stand excessively sweet American-style birthday cake, I really have no clue.) Mr. López gently dissuaded her from going and she got the message that she wasn’t welcome.

This got me thinking about the differences between Anglo and Latino parties though, so I thought I would make a list. Maybe it will be helpful to someone. If not, perhaps at least amusing.

The Differences Between an Anglo kid’s Birthday party and a Latino kid’s Birthday party

Who gets to come?
Anglo – Those whose names are written on the invitation.
Latino – Those whose names are written on the invitation, plus their uncles, cousins, and sometimes random neighbors who had nothing better to do that day.

What time should we come?
Anglo – The time is right there on the invitation.
Latino – An hour late, or else the hosts won’t be ready when you arrive.

Food Etiquette
Anglo – Eat only what is given to you. Don’t ask for seconds even if you’re really hungry.
Latino – Eat as much as you want and then ask for plates to take home leftovers for eating later or to bring to family members who didn’t feel like coming.

Singing, dancing, music
Anglo – The only music heard is when the kids sing “Happy Birthday” at cake time. Dancing is rare, but when it happens, it is usually the “Hokey Pokey”.
Latino – WHAT?! I CAN’T HEAR YOU! THE MUSIC IS TOO LOUD! … Adults dance Perreo in front of the kids, no importa.

Anglo – Of course not! What’s wrong with you?! It’s a CHILDREN’S birthday party!
Latino- Claro que sí! … The cerveza is there in the cooler, hermano!

Anglo – A strict schedule of organized activities and games for the children.
Latino – Niños, go play in the street or something. Stop bothering the grown ups! We’ll do the piñata later! Hijole!

What’re we eating?
Anglo – Probably pizza.
Latino – Steak, chicken, rice, beans, salad, tortillas, etc. Load your styrofoam plate up until it’s ready to crack under the weight.

When does the party end?
Anglo – Refer to your invitation. Thank your hosts and excuse yourself on the dot. Clear out!
Latino – Party until everyone’s tired and/or Tio Eduardo passes out on the couch while watching a fútbol game.

Señora López is an, (as of yet unpublished), American writer of multicultural fiction. When she’s not writing, she’s reading or getting into some sort of I Love Lucy-esque trouble.She and her husband are both bilingual and proud to be bringing up two Spanglish speaking boys. Feel free to visit her at her blog, Latina-ish.

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  • Kristy Garcia Blea says:

    Laughing through the memories! Thanks.

  • [...] the blog post I wrote about Latino vs. Anglo Birthday Parties, was featured at [...]

  • Catherine says:

    HAHA! I got a leftover plate from God-knows-where last week from my dad… and I don’t even live with him! LOL. This is great!

  • Lou says:

    LOL!! I have actually said before that only at a Latino party do you leave with more food than you came with. Loved this!

  • Ana Lilian says:

    This is funny, funny..que risa! How about us Latinos leaving not only with a plate of leftover food, but also with the flower ornament you fought your cuñada over!
    Gotta love it.

  • Adriana says:

    That is so funny and SO true! I am going to show it to my esposo. He will LOVE it!

  • Nicole says:

    Best.List.Ever. Seriously, as an “anglo” that married a “latino”, I agree with everything you said, too funny. I’ve actually gone through this list with my husband in the past when we are planning parties for my daughter.

  • Carolyn G says:

    OMg you just described every single party I had when I was little. When I would have my gringo friends over for the party they would always be surprised. LOL

  • Marta says:

    My (very English/gringo) husband and I laughed out loud as you described the difference between our two families.

    Fabulous post!


  • Yoly says:

    What’re we eating?

    Anglo: Hot dogs and Chips.

    CUBANS: Pastellitos (de Guayaba y Carne), Cangerjitos (de queso crema), Bocaditos, Croqueticas, 2 restaurant sized trays of Arroz Imperial, 1 Lechon en la Caja China, Congris, Yuca con Mojo, abt 7 loaves of Cuban bread and Salad (for those who are watching their weight, but yet devoured abt 6 Pastellitos an hour ago). For dessert, el Cake de Natilla. And if you are lucky, someone will even bring Ambrosia! And we wash this all down with Materva, Jupina y Iron Beer.

    What your parties didn’t consist of all these wonderful delights?

  • Dariela says:

    Jajajaja! Muy cómico! I love this. I love how you wrote it all out. We all know this and we all think about it and it’s nice to read it. I want a lot of the latin party in the anglo, although there is one that gets me the most now that I live in a predominant anglo culture is: the time we should come. I really like the people to show up on time or 30 min after. When I traveled to Venezuela last year the parties said they where starting at 5pm and people where arriving at 7:30pm (And it’s still a kids’ party!!). I know the culture and still felt bad arriving at 6pm and the host was STILL NOT READY!! It’s weird!

  • Lee Laden says:

    Senora Lopez,

    Brilliant analysis and screamingly hilarious.

    Classmate in grad school invited me to a party at her home. Family was
    from Iran. I arrived at appointed hour, which was three hours early!!
    Persian food and music were outstanding and someone even persuaded me
    to dance. Here’s to multi-cultural parties!!

  • Carrie says:

    Yoly, I am full after reading your very accurate description of el cubaneo party.

    And Dariela, what I love about Anglo parties is punctuality. I may be the only Cuban (other than my mom) who loves to be on time! Though, I admit to wanting to always stay later.

  • Sra. López says:

    A todos – Just want to give a big “gracias” for all the kind comments. I’m so happy others were able to see the funny here. When you write about cultural differences you’re never sure when you might cross the line or step on someone’s toes. Thanks so much for reading!

  • Dariela says:

    Agree 100% Carrie, let’s be on time and stay for longer everybody!!

  • Grace says:

    Haha it’s so true! I am attending my first American wedding this February and everything is so new and interesting. You should write a post about Latino and Anglo wedding differences too.

  • Michael J says:

    Todo esto es cierto!! jaja, as a 1/2-Mex 1/2-Tex,

  • Natalia says:

    This is SOOOO true…and way too funny gente! i can relate to this a lot. Americans are usually strict on the party requierements…us latinos..as long as we have a good time..thats the goal :)

  • Elena M says:

    Fantastico! Grew up in Miami and lived in the Midwest as a new mom with toddlers. This is a favorite topic of mine. Imagine my shock the first time my 4-year old was invited to a 2-hour party that said “drop off” on the invite. I couldn’t even appreciate the free time I had just been given.

  • Carrie says:

    Welcome to the conversations we have regularly around here at the Tiki Tiki, folks! Wrapping our brains around the funny and the odd in mixing culture…

  • This is HILARIOUS and SO true! This reminds me of our family get togethers….

  • Elena "Mamarazzi" says:

    How about house parties:
    Latinos: No coat check or closet…the coats are piled on the bed, and when the kids get sleepy you put them in the bed ON the coats (hard to find your own kid when it’s time to go home at 5 a.m. and you’ve had one-to-many glasses of rum.

  • Silvia says:

    This is hilarious!! I couldn’t help but to show it my gringo husband, we both laughed out loud. Thank you Sra. Lopez
    .-= Silvia´s last blog ..“Hada Por Accidente” – Sorteo / “The Tooth Fairy” – DVD Giveaway =-.

  • Lisa Renata says:

    OMGoodness, I am LMNO. Enserio! You got it just right!!!! Hahahahaha. Just the other day while at an Anglo’s kids party, the host said joking, “I need a beer! At what age can we start serving drinks at kids b-day parties?” (Everyone laughed) Then I joked back saying,”well, in my dad’s family, you can start serving while celebrating their 1st b-day.” (They all turned and looked at me with horror.) Great, now they think my father is a drunk and he doesn’t even drink. Me hubiera quedado callada. Nimodo. Jajajaja.
    .-= Lisa Renata´s last blog ..Miami and being a Latina mami =-.

  • Francisco Miguel says:

    Esto es ridículo, y los tiempos cambian, no se que clase me Latinos esten viviendo en Estados Unidos, pero es patético que quieran clasificar de esta manera a nuestra gente…

    Arriba America Latina, ya no somos tercermundistas como Ustedes nos quieren seguir catalogando.

    Shame on you Ms. López

  • Sra. López says:

    Querido Francisco,

    No entiendo su enojo. No hay nada aquí que crea una imagen de los Latinos como “tercermundistas”. Tengo un gran respeto y amor por la Comunidad Latina.

    Escribí este de las experiencias de la vida real aquí em los EEUU y como se puede ver en los otros comentarios, otros Latinos lo llaman “divertido” y “verdadero”.

    En este artículo se muestra simplemente una diferencia en la cultura. Ni el “Anglo way” o el “Latino way” es mejor o peor que el otro. Son simplemente las diferencias que hay que apreciar y disfrutar.

    Por supuesto, cuando se habla de generalidades, lo que se dice no es aplicable a todos. Así que, si esta lista no se aplica a usted, ¿por qué no simplemente lo ignoran? ¿Por qué pierdes tu energía enojando?

    Si tiene tanta pasión para la Comunidad Latina, úselo sabiamente. Ponga su energía en luchar por una buena causa, en vez de gastarlo en tonterías.


  • Diana says:

    I just came across your blog and wow how this takes me back to my childhood when the parties were really for the company coming not the the kid, and listening to my mom say well you just can’t have cake and ice cream you what will people think that we can’t afford to feed them!!! Love this post… Diana

  • Betty says:

    I found these postings because I was looking for a latino birthday tradition that seems to be indicated in the Spanish curriculum I am using with my grandkids. One character is pinching the ear of the birthday boy. Is that a tradition in some places? Loved and laughed at the list and all the comments! (And was pleased I could understand most of Francisco’s comments and your response.) Lots to learn. We anglos surely need to loosen up a bit.

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