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Italians Celebrate Their Sweet 18Find out what kind of bash young Italian men and women host when they turn 18 years old and technically become adults
Frankly, most Italians who go to college don't finish the degree until they are in their 30s. You've probably read a million stories about how many of them never move out of their parent's houses – at least in southern Italy. But 18 traditionally is associated with the age of adulthood, and therefore it requires a serious party.
The birthday boy or girl invites friends and family. Usually, the party is at a nightclub with catering, restaurant, or event facility. Sometimes, they will have the party at home. There's almost always dancing. The latest versions of these parties sometimes has a theme. They've been greatly influenced by social media images of superb party planning. At the very least, the guest of honor chooses a color scheme.
In the case of my niece, who turned 18 over the summer, the party was drenched in red and white. She wore a custom-made red dress. A photographer documented the evening. She is on a competitive, winning dance team, and her friends performed a choreographed dance just for her – and we all got to watch.
Of course, there has to be food, really good food. This is Italy, after all. Dinner is usually light, but this is a party, so people expect a bit more abundance. At my niece's party a buffet was set up on the bar. There, you found appetizers, such as mini sandwiches and various little bites. Waiters came around with small plates of different kinds of pasta. In addition, they served cocktails and champagne. Her cake was tiered and looked like an American wedding cake.
Friends and family shared a beautiful video montage that carried the audience through my niece's life – from being born to being at her 18th birthday party. Everyone got down to music – old and new. Much like you'd expect at an American party, YMCA and the chicken dance made the cut.
One of the interesting aspects of an Italian party is that the invitation was for 10 p.m. and that was considered early. It didn't matter that my son, who was 6 at the time, and her other cousins, who were 9 and 6, were invited, as were elderly aunts and uncles. In fact, many of her friends complained that the time was too early. I, the American, was shocked at the schedule of events. We got home by 2:30 in the morning, and we left early.
If you're interested in incorporating the Italian vibe into your next milestone birthday bash, you can do the following:
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