Birthday parties and a palayok

When I was a kid in the Philippines, birthday parties party food wasn’t just pizza and cake. There was red hotdogs on a skewer with a marshmallow at the end, rainbow bread and palayok pots for hitting.

I’m not sure why hotdogs are made with so much red food coloring. Sticking the hotdog on a stick and topping it off with a marshmallow in the end is just what a kid would love! Especially for the marshmallow part.

Cheese pimento and tuna sandwiches on rainbow colored bread with the crusts trimmed off were another standard in birthday parties I remember attending. I really wish I could find that bread here, my kids would get a kick out of that (and the parents too).

For “long life” sweet spaghetti with hotdogs were served. Thinking back I’m not sure why the spaghetti was so sweet but that seems to be the way it was served. Spaghetti or pancit (or any long noodle dish) is a must to celebrate a birthday and bring hopes of a long life for the celebrant.

When all the eating was over and the games began, we looked forward to the palayok. The palayok is a clay pot (really meant for cooking) that’s filled with candy, toys and money. They string it up on a tree branch and the kids line up for a blindfolded turn to swing a stick at it. Each kid would do their best to whack at that pot and break it. Showering not only candy, toys and money but also shards of the clay pot come raining down on the kids. Kids being kids they’re oblivious to it all and are just focused on gathering as much loot as they can.

At the end of the party everyone goes home tired and some of us still full from the constant food.

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