keeping traditions: birthdays

Posted by on Jun 20, 2010 in keeping traditions, pc-romania, veronica | No Comments

So I celebrated my second Romanian birthday this past Friday.  I don’t like my birthday.  Well, let me clarify — I like my mom making me a spice cake and cooking a tasty dinner; I like my husband waking me up at midnight to tell me happy birthday; I like long rambly poems written by my brother on construction paper.  But I don’t like unauthentic group hoop-la — parties, presents, flowers, “happy birthdays” from random people.

Last summer I was relatively successful at keeping the birthday on the down-low.  It was PST; we were all busy and exhausted and perspiring.  But somehow this year, word got out at my NGO.  And since they knew, I had to follow tradition.

In America, on your birthday, you get a party and cake and presents.  In Romania, on your birthday, you throw your friends a party and give them presents and cake. On Thursday, one of my favorite beneficiaries asked me, “Vero, what are we doing for your birthday?”  So I knew I had to do something; I couldn’t disappoint.  The something was complicated by the fast for the month of St. Peter and Paul, meaning whatever goodies I made had to be vegan.  So I woke up extra early on my birthday to make salsa (to be served with tortilla chips) and two massive fruit crisps. Needless to say, by the time I got to work I was a bit cranky for a birthday girl.

My crankiness abated as the day progressed.  The priest who likes me showed up with a huge bouquet of flowers.  I got pupici (kisses) from beneficiaries and colleagues.  Even two of David’s students who had helped me with a cooking group came by with a card and an angel figurine for me. All of the gestures were sweet and genuine and personal.

And then there was my favorite part …..the singing.  Before we shared the fruit crisp and they tried salsa, the beneficiaries sang “La Multi Ani.”  It’s a catch-all song wishing many more years of happiness and life and it’s sung at birthdays and weddings and 8th grade dances and the New Year and really anything festive.  And although it’s ubiquitous, hearing it sung for me by my beneficiaries was great.  While everything else was nice, this was all I really needed or wanted.

[vodpod id=Video.3870527&w=425&h=350&fv=]

PS: Mom, you owe me TWO birthday spice cakes!


  1. dottie andreassen
    June 21, 2010

    They (on the video) don’t sound QUITE as good as I do singing Happy Birthday to You! and PS — You will soon owe ME two too! Hooray for new blogging!

  2. Melody C.
    June 21, 2010

    One thing I admire about PCVs (or maybe more accurately it’s the type of people who become PVCs) is that you appreciate the simple things in life. That people would sing to you is far more important that the gift one might give. Thank you for sharing!


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