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Valentine’s Day: Nine Months On…
Elle Hartley Smith, Features Writer
Birthdays are a pretty big deal in the UK right?

A dinner is usually bought for you, or a party and most definitely cards are exchanged with cheesy stereotypes of ‘Happy Birthday!

Well done you passed Go, collect another year!’

Well this is not the case in the Netherlands. They have an interesting way of celebrating birthdays. Instead of wishing you, the birthday person, ‘happy birthday’ they congratulate everyone you know for having the privilege of knowing you on your birthday. They actually say congratulations to your friends and family.

This concept is an unusual difference in culture, the birthday boy or girls is not the centre of attention. But those who know you share the celebration with you.

Two Birthdays and Three Kisses

On the brighter side the Dutch have at least two birthday celebrations: one for family and close friends, and one just for friends.

For the more civilised family gathering, you are the host/ess, the provider for entertainment and food. Your close friends greet family members with a hand shake to the males or females that they’ve not met before. If they’ve met before they become suddenly continental, three kisses on the cheek.

Also by Elle Hartley Smith...
Our Two-wheeled Friends In Amsterdam
The Canadian Influence
You get to play server, ensuring every glass is full and every plate has cake on it!

Wait it gets better, if you decide to dine out you have to buy the food for everyone!

Of course, what goes around comes around. So although you buy dinner and drinks you are most definitely allowed to presume the arrival of presents.

As you buy food and drinks on your birthday, presents are the materialistic things that gradually fade with age in the UK, but not in Holland.

For the way less civilised celebration, your crazy friends plus alcohol equals a night forgotten.

Again if you go for dinner you have to buy it! Or go for the somewhat cheaper option – buy one round.

Just like the UK this is the time for unflattering photographs, lots of alcohol and reminiscing about funny things you have done.

When in a work situation, you have to bring your own birthday cake. It is the ultimate statement of ‘It’s my birthday you have to celebrate with me!’

It is also a great way of getting away with not celebrating your birthday, although you seem rather rude if you don’t provide cake to your co-workers.

So with all the birthdays this month (after all it is nine months after Valentine’s Day) appreciate the cultural differences - and all the cake!

Valentine’s Day: Nine Months On…, 17th November 2017, 17:28 PM