Category Archives: Indian Birthday

DIY Indian Inspired Gift Boxes

Shala over at “Don’t Eat the Paste” has created a truly inspired little gift box. The pattern reminds me of Indian Rangoli or Mehendi designs. These boxes could be a great DIY project for an Indian themed event… I’m thinking wedding favors, birthday party giveaways, even cute little gift boxes for that pair of earrings you picked up on your last trip to Southern Asia. The possibilities are endless – thank you Shala! Hope you guys can find some uses for them too!

Indian Birthday Party

Friday night, we were invited to a surprise birthday party for one of our close Indian friends. We had a wonderful time, but I couldn’t help but observe some things that I thought would be interesting blog material…
  1. IST (Indian Standard Time/Indian Stretchable Time): Invitations sent out said the party was starting at 7 pm… got a call a couple of hours before the party saying it had been pushed back to 7:30. It was all good, we had to drive across the Canadian border, since the party was in Vancouver, so that gave us more time to get there. We figured the party wouldn’t start on time anyway, so we arrived at 7:45 (maybe even a little closer to 8), and you guessed it – we were the first guests to arrive! Thankfully the next guests arrived about 10 minutes after we did. But the birthday boy didn’t arrive until 9.
  2. Food: We weren’t told ahead of time whether we would be having dinner or just snacks. Our guess was that there would be dinner – because most Indians eat dinner late (between 8-10 pm) and what is an Indian party without food? My husband was concerned, because he was starving, but I felt sure they would have dinner. So we took a gamble and went with empty stomachs… and we were happy we did! There was a full Indian dinner – totally fabulous – veg & non-veg.
  3. Guests: All Indian, aside from me (American) and one girl from Thailand. I don’t mind being the only white person at a gathering, especially when I’m not singled out. Often times in India I would be offered a spoon or fork when everyone else was eating with their hands – which at first was a nice gesture – but eventually I just wished I could blend in better! Thankfully, we know these friends really well and they always tell me I’m “like an Indian in disguise.” I choose to take that as a compliment.
  4. Conversation: We got lots of questions from guests who we were just meeting for the first time. They wanted to know how we met, where we’re from, etc. A couple of the guys were talking to my husband and found out they had been in North America for approximately the same amount of time. They were like, “Man, how did you get such a great American accent so soon?” I have to laugh at that one… my husband does not have an American accent…nor does he try to fake one. He grew up in an English speaking home and studied in English schools. If anything he sounds more British than American. But I think because he’s married to a white American girl, and because he does speak English very well, these guys assumed that his accent has morphed in just a few short years.
  5. Birthday Cake: If you’ve been to an Indian birthday party before, you might have seen the birthday boy or girl cut the cake and feed it to their family (much like a bride and groom do at an American wedding). This party was no different, the birthday boy fed his wife first, then went around the room and fed all of us a bite (from the same piece of cake – with his hands)! It was….interesting. We did sing “Happy Birthday” but only after the candles were blown out and the cake was cut.
  6. Customs: In India, on a birthday, usually the birthday boy/girl is expected to “treat” his friends. In school, you might provide cake/candy for your classmates or when you get older you might be expected to pay for your guest’s dinner on your birthday.
Regardless of cultural differences, we had a great time with great friends. Indians are known for their hospitality and I hope that I can learn that art and apply it to my own intercultural marriage.