I went to two birthday parties last month for little girls in our neighborhood.
My neighbor *Jasmine had a party for her daughter who was turning 11. Everyone dressed up, and then we got into three cars to caravan to a house they own outside of town. There were 10 Americans (7 of those were kids) and 7 of our neighbor's family. 12 more of their family met us out there.
*Jasmine's oldest son and daughter-in-law live out there, but they "do life" in only three or so rooms, so the room the party was in was C.O.L.D. The electricity wasn't working when we got there, but soon, it was all lit up and one kerosene heater was lit that the women and children hovered around.
I think the men went to the mosque next door, and then they came back later for the food.
There was sitting and visiting while the little kids played games. Then a full meal of dolma (if you can't remember what dolma looks like, there is a picture at the bottom of THIS post.)
After more visiting, they brought out an impressive spread of desserts. There was dancing, music, and eating. I was told we drove out to this house because there was a "table" here. They wanted to be able to put the desserts up on a table, and they do not have a table at their house in town.
I tell you all of that to really tell you about another party that occurred two days later in the neighborhood.
I knew there was a birthday party for the two daughters of the man that owns the chicken dukan, but we hadn't been invited.
However, once the party started, they sent an American over to tell Keira they wanted her to come, too.
The music was loud, the girls were dancing, and the two "birthday girls" were having a great time!
*Jasmine's daughter is the tallest one in the back, and the "birthday girls" are fourth and 6th on the back row, if you start from the left
I visited with *Jasmine, my American friend, the aunt of the girls and the mother of the girls.
This picture was after the father of the girls jumped in front, crushing them all, and reducing them to lots of laughter.
Then my American friend asked the mother of the girls what day was actually their birthday, and she said that they were in December....
Was this a birthday jealousy party??
My American friend told her girls, "We only buy one set of birthday gifts a year, so if they have another party in December, we won't be buying gifts again."
And then as the girls laughed and danced around the room, my friend also said, "This is the most joy they get in their life. This is all they have to look forward to," and I think she might be right, so why not schedule their happiness?
*Not her real name.