By Erin Turner

Celebrating your birthday abroad is a great way to learn even more about the customs of the country you are visiting. If you are lucky enough to be spending your birthday in Argentina (like I will be this week!), you will soon find out that this country is definitely not short on birthday traditions!


In an effort to keep things interesting, I will be throwing myself for a loop celebrating my birthday in the Southern Hemisphere, where we are quickly approaching winter. This will be the first year I will not be spending my birthday with my family and friends in California, but I am looking forward to spending it with the new group of people who have become my family in Buenos Aires! I’ve always associated my June birthday with the end of another school year, the warm summer sun, and a party held somewhere outside. No doubt this year is going to be quite different – I can only hope for a sunny (yet still incredibly cold) day that I will spend celebrating inside, keeping warm. Rumor has it there is a chance of snow…


When I think of birthdays in the US, my mind immediately thinks CAKE. This might just be my sweet tooth talking but if you want to make this birthday girl happy just put any form of red velvet or chocolate cake with vanilla icing in front of me and I’m set. While Argentina doesn’t serve up birthday cakes like I’m used to, they are definitely not short on (if you haven’t figured out already) delicious treats perfectly fit for any birthday celebration. And it wouldn’t be a typical Argentine dessert if it didn’t involve dulce de leche in some form or another. Chocotorta and rogel are two desserts you’ll typically find at any birthday celebration and of course they are oozing with dulce de leche goodness. The chocotorta layers thin chocolate cookies dipped in coffee with filling consisting of dulce de leche and cream cheese. Rogel uses the same layering technique to stack crispy wafers with dulce de leche, topped with meringue. Something tells me I won’t be missing my birthday cake…


The chocolate covered rogels are even more unbelievable

Typical celebrations normally include a gathering of friends and family, similar to what most of us are probably accustomed to, filled with food, drinking and lots of buena onda. Other birthday traditions in Argentina include giving children an ear tug for every year they are turning, similar to the spanking for every year some receive in the States. Quinceaneras are also celebrated – when a girl turns 15, a huge party is thrown, like a Sweet 16 but typically on a much grander scale.

Finally, whatever you do, don’t you dare wish me Happy Birthday before my actual birthday… In Argentina it’s considered bad luck for the recipient if you do!