Differences between Finnish and Dutch birthday parties. Click below to read the rest!
My 20th birthday is in three days... so exciting! As I mentioned earlier, I'm celebrating it with D's family, at D's mother's house.
I've already written a little about Dutch parties but that was over a year ago and I hadn't attended that many Dutch parties back then. In my previous post I mentioned that Dutch parties are more casual, and that they certainly are, at least compared to the parties I have attended in Finland. In my family's parties in Finland there are usually at least two different sort of cakes, different cookies and pastries, more savoury bites like the traditional Karelian pasties, mini-pizzas, quiche or something like that and of course candy and pop corn or potato chips and so on. In the Netherlands there are usually two different sort of cakes as well, one of which is often the Dutch apple pie. Small hapjes (snacks, such as cheese, sausages, bitterballen) are also often served and at least in D's family the guests also get to eat dinner, usually something that's easy to make for a lot of people, such as boerenkool stamppot or pasta or soup. Of course, potato chips and candy and such are also served.
So all in all the amount of food served at the parties doesn't differ that much, the difference is often the amount of time and energy put into preparing the food. In Finland most of the food is still self-made, and the day before the birthday party is usually spent baking and cooking, often to the wee hours. However, in the Netherlands it's common to buy the cake and other foods instead of making them at home. Dutch people also tend to go for less complex food that's easy and quick to prepare.
For my birthday, I'm combining a little of both cultures. I'll make my own birthday cake and small meringues, as D's little sister doesn't like cake. D's mother is probably making a sort of cheesecake just in case people don't like my cake. (okay, also because one cake wouldn't be enough anyways) D's sisters will be working on Saturday so everyone (D's family) will be coming in the late afternoon/early evening which is why we'll be eating dinner as well. Pasta was my choice, and we'll be making both pasta carbonara and pasta bolognese so that people will have something to choose from.
Moving on to the drinks. Finnish family parties are usually, at least in my family, alcohol-free, except for the glass of champagne that might be served when someone grown-up reaches a significant age. In the Netherlands, where casual alcohol consumption is more common than in Finland, it's quite usual to serve beer and wine at birthday parties. Luckily it usually only stays at a glass or two and people don't really drink in order to get drunk. Of course, there are exceptions, and sometimes it gets just as crazy as at Finnish teenager parties. Tea and coffee are served both in Finland and the Netherlands.
My birthday is probably going to be quite sober as well. I did buy a bottle of pink prosecco (as Moët & Chandon was a little out of my budget) and people will probably have a glass of wine or beer or two.
Unfortunately all of my new friends that I have made here in the Netherlands are unable to celebrate my birthday with me on the actual day. I also miss my friends that are in Finland, and Erica too, as she's currently spending the winter in Las Palmas. Luckily I'm somewhat used to spending my birthdays with family only, except this year it's D's family.
Normally pretty much everyone would be welcome to a Dutch birthday party, more distant relatives, neighbours and colleagues, but I wanted it to be more intimate. In Finland I'd only invite the closest family and friends too, so here in the Netherlands I'm also not going to invite everyone that knows me by name. I want to spend my birthday in a relaxed setting and I can't relax among people I barely know.
Now that we've tackled food and drinks, I should probably move on to decorations. Generally speaking, I don't think the decorations at Finnish and Dutch parties differ that much. Both have flowers and balloons and such. Finnish people perhaps tend to stress out a little more about cleaning and tidying up and they take out their better china but other than that there's really no big difference.
Anyone knowing me won't be surprised to hear that I want pink decorations. Pink flowers, pink napkins, pink balloons and so on. I already bought pink candles for my cake and the meringues will be pink too. Yes, it's probably more suitable for a 5-year-old than a 20-year-old but it's my party so bear with me.
I won't be wearing pink though. D already got me a dress as a birthday present, from VILA, carefully picked out by yours truly. Usually I let D come up with a present by himself, and he's good at it too, but this time I wanted the dress, because most of my party dresses are still in Finland. I'll probably pair the dress with black tights and a blazer or a sweater and simple black heels. Not sure about my make-up and hair yet, perhaps I'll make a separate inspiration post about that.
The differences in Finnish and Dutch party attires I already tackled in my previous post.
Hopefully this post didn't bore you to death. I'm simply so excited about my birthday, it's basically the only thing on my mind right now. Also, I think that cultural differences are interesting, even if the differences between Finland and the Netherlands are actually not even that big, and perhaps this post will be of use for someone interested in Finnish or Dutch birthday parties.