In Miami especially, birthday parties have become as competitive as weddings and quinces. Even for a first birthday party, the young tike can expect an elaborately catered event with a large outdoor tent and linen tablecloths. Pony rides, a bouncing house, an ice cream machine, and full bar are expected. To really impress, one needs to trot out a pony or two for the kids, plus live music and maybe a few clowns. A six or eight-piece mariachi band is a frequent sight.
Cuban birthday parties also feature treasure hunts for the children with clues written on slips of paper. The clues lead to small caches of hidden toys and candy.
Cuban birthday parties may feature Latin music, but when it comes time to blow out the candles, everyone sings the traditional “Happy Birthday” song in English. Even in Cuba, it was common for exclusively Spanish speaking people to sing the song phonetically in English. The staunchly traditional sing the birthday song entirely in Spanish. There is also a traditional birthday song called "Las Mañanitas del Rey David," (“the mornings of King David.”) However today you only hear it at parties where they have hired Mariachis, usually for the adults.
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