Sunday, April 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to You and You

Way back in my kindergarten days, the kid celebrating her birthday brought a treat for the class and got to be line leader, maybe wore a special hat, and that was that. 
That kind of shallow mockery for a birthday party just doesn't cut the mustard at  the academy Shane and I teach at here in Busan. On one magical Thursday each month, the kindergarten masses gather for cake day birthday party. A typical birthday party goes something like this:
Seven classes gather in the auditorium and "sit nicely" in "rows". The children who have a birthday that month are corralled in the hallway until they are called one by one to make grand entrances. Once posed in front of all the other kids, they're asked through a chant, what they want to be when they grow up. These 5, 6, and 7 year olds have a much better sense of direction than I did at that age because responses have included singer, artist, business man, driver, dentist, and cowgirl. 
After the interviews, classes showcase their talents with a choreographed song and dance number. The song might be a beloved children's song, like Skinamarink or it might just as well be one of ABBA's finest hits. Really adorable.
Then, when all classes have exhibited their dance prowess, the birthday kids are seated in front and birthday hats are plunked on their heads.                                 

During the last leg of birthday party comes the cake parade. The cakes are store bought, and they are glossy, elaborate, and beautiful, and not as overly sweet as American b-day cakes. We sing happy birthday several times over, long enough for the kiddos to have their picture taken for the personalized yearbooks that will come out at the end of the year. Funny enough, the kids look like they're having fun, until the camera's on them. Then it's all straight faces until the cake is served with lunch. 

The children love birthday party, and their excitement usually begins days before the party itself. It's nice to be surrounded with such joy. The power of cake is universal.


  1. Look at all those cakes in line!

    I guess one per each B-day kid? They don't send those sugar high kids back to class after the party, I hope?:)

    Kids here tend to freeze up in front of camera 'cause their parents keep yelling at them to look proper & presentable before taking pictures.

    Making V sign and stapled smile are proven ways to get a quick parental approval.

    But then again, adults are not much different, I guess ;)

    BTW great job on the blog, Rose!

  2. Thank you for your comments and for reading! They do send those kids back to class after the party, but with a lunch break first.