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Customs

Birthdays

Birthdays are considered a very important day, and all family and friends will be invited (by word of mouth, not by invitations). It is customary to not only say congratulations (gefeliciteerd!) to the birthday boy or girl, but also to all the other relatives and friends in the room. It is customary to give a wrapped present, and it will usually be unwrapped right away.

The party typically starts at 8pm with coffee and one slice of (store-bought) cake. After coffee, other beverages, such as soft drinks, wine, and beer are served, along with finger food. At work, if it is your birthday, you can bring a cake or pie to share over coffee. In case of a child, they will treat everyone in class.

A birthday milestone is turning 50. If a man turns 50, it is said that he sees Abraham. If a women turns 50, she sees Sarah.

Don’t forget to buy a birthday calendar to remind you of all the birthdays. Traditionally, this is displayed in the toilet.