Countries and Cultures

Countries and Cultures party theme - thumbnail image

My sister Melanie's fortieth birthday was approaching. Her husband, Craig, got together with some of her friends to discuss what to do. None of us could decide on one single theme or a single type food or culture to choose. Melanie loves to travel and being a chef by profession, she particularly likes to sample the cuisine in the countries she visits. With that in mind we decided to throw her a "Cultures around the World" party.

The invitations I found were very appropriate for the theme. On the cover was a drawing of the world with a ring of people, in different ethnic costumes, standing around the outside, holding hands. Inside were the details of the location, date, time. The guests were asked to come in the costume of a chosen country, bring a traditional dish that would feed at least twenty and items significant to the native people of that nation. Guests were asked to inform Craig of their choice so there would be no duplications.

On the day of the party we set up at picnic site at a local park. We rented three medium sized marquees and set up tables for the food and drink, plates, cups, napkins and wicker baskets of utensils. The idea was that each marquee would be shared by three separate ethnicities.

Some of the guests really went all out and decorated their section elaborately in the theme of their chosen country. Melanie was amazed by the amount of effort her friends and family put into the idea and the decorations. The result was an outstanding party, that looked a little like a small fair. You could go to any table and take as much or as little food as you wanted, while at the same time learn something about the culture from which it came.

The birthday cake had been decorated with the same drawing that was on the outside of the invitations re-created with icing and sculptured sugar dolls. I was glad we had hired a videographer to capture the event on tape.

Everything was a conversation piece. Not only was the party enjoyable, but it was educational as well. I took many pictures of everyone enjoying themselves and learning more about other cultures. The ice cream cart we rented was a big hit as it was a particularly warm day in the park.

A group of Irish folk singers arrived and played some amazing music for us. I was too stuffed to move, but Melanie and some of the others danced with the Irish Jig dancers we had hired. We had also hired the services of an Irish Jig instructor and the guests really enjoyed being taught traditional moves to the Irish music. It was all great fun and pretty hilarious to watch.

Some of the guests gave Melanie the cultural items they had brought as gifts. Others gave her the homemade cook book they had complied with all the recipes from all the ethnic dishes made for the party. Melanie loved it and thanked everyone for making her fortieth birthday such a memorable event. The tape from the party was edited into a documentary-style program. Craig did a great job narrating the video and we sent the finished product out as thank you gifts to all of our guests.