I thought that while my daughter and I were in Chicago, I would merge our cultures and execute a Brazilian Birthday party! Her actual birthday is not until November, but close enough!
I dragged a suitcase full of supplies with from from Sao Paulo to Chicago which included canned brigadeiro and beijinho, creme de leite, large foam Beauty and the Beast wall hangings, Brazilian snacks and candy, powdered pao de quiejo mix, little gifts for goodie bags and much, much more! Upon arrival, I purchased the makings for a typical child’s party menu – mini hot dogs, cheese sticks, popcorn, corn dogs, etc. I also got the makings for caipirinhas (for the adult guests of course) and tracked down some Xingu, a Brazilian black beer. (Bummer, I couldn’t round up any Guarana for the kids, we just went with juice boxes.)
The plan was to hold it at my sister’s apartment. I insisted on getting there early to get a jump on the process. My sisters and mother definitely did not get how much effort was going to go into this, especially the sweet table. I also found a kit for making a princess castle cake on clearance at Walmart and this was a big project. And I would be going this alone – without the direction of my Brazilian sister-in-law, birthday party planner extraordinaire.
I began at 8:30 a.m. The party didn’t begin until 4:00p.m., but even at 3:30 p.m. I wasn’t finished. (This is actually right in line with Brazilian birthday parties. They are still setting up for the first hour, but of course, guests don’t arrive until an hour after it begins, so it all works out.)
To keep with the essence of the parties, I also hired someone to come and make balloons animals and paint faces. This was an excellent decision because the guy was great and kept the kids entertained all night.
Guests were definitely
shocked impressed by the sweet table. But it was fun to share this part of the culture.
As I made caipirinhas and my mother continuously shoved snacks in the oven, I realized that there was one element that I did not/could not replicate. A team of people to help serve the guests. After an hour of being hunched over cocktail glasses, crushing limes, I began to truly appreciate this being an option in Brazil.
When it was time to sing “Happy Birthday” I passed out papers with the Brazilian version and we sang first in Portuguese and then in English.
Everyone seems to have a great time, especially the kids (who actually managed to keep their hands off the sweet table until we cut the cake… as amazing as it is in Brazil.)
So here you go, the documentation of the party: