Saturday, February 01, 2014

Playing Catch Up Part 2 - November Indian Princess Party

Seven may as well be twenty-one, because both ages seem totally unfathomable to me. Yet, here it is! Devi turned 7,  choosing to celebrate by having an Indian Princess Party. Dressed in a new salwar kameez, tikka and with her hair pulled back in a bun, I can begin to see the young adult begin to bud inside her. (Pat is never going to let her date!)

I think the best part about throwing home birthday parties comes on the eve before the party, when as the kids sleep, the house is transformed to match the theme of the party. For this one, we covered the floor to ceiling windows of our family room with a giant white paper silhouette of the Taj Mahal. When Dev awoke the morning of the party she shouted, “The Taj Mahal? We are in Agra, India!” indicating that we had indeed accomplished our goal.  The dining room became a tent by draping  bright colored sheers from the corners of the room toward the center. This is where our party began as I explained the words “Diwali” and “Diya” to our young guests. Instructed by Oma our resident potter, she demonstrated how to form the air dry clay into lanterns to hold tea lights to burn during the festival of light. The girls decorated the outsides of their diyas by pushing bright colored beads into the soft clay sides in all kinds of patterns and designs.

With the help of my friend Kris, henna was applied in mehndi designs of the girls’ choosing on the tops of their hands and a bindi adorned their foreheads. I added a set of bangles on their wrists and a dupatta scarf around each of their necks and just like that a harem of Indian princesses appeared before our very eyes! AND...just in the nick of time, as our Indian dance instructor arrived and began teaching the girls traditional dances. I wish I had written down the names of the dances, but alas all I can remember is learning the moves to a dance about a sly snake in the grass and another...a love story. The girls’ favorite, they learned the movements to portray a prince falling in love with a girl who wore the shiniest nose ring. He met her family and the stars were just right in the sky, so he built her a house. Okay, so perhaps the romance gets a bit lost in the translation, but the girls were enamored anyway. With the exhaustion of dance came hunger. so the girls dined on naan pizzas, papadums with mango chutney, fruit and lassi drinks. 

With full bellies, I had their attention again so we played some Indian oriented games. The first was called Pass the Parcel. I had the girls sit in a big circle and played Indian music while they passed a wrapped box from lap to lap. When the music stopped the person holding the box got to unwrap it...revealing another wrapped box. The music and passing of the parcel began again. I think the box was unwrapped about 10 times and in the very center were surprises for each girl. The game was a huge hit with the girls and was equally as fun to watch as a parent. 

Next we played chase the peacock. I had each girl hold the edge of a big nylon parachute up close to their faces in a large circle. I dropped a peacock feather onto the parachute and the girls had to blow the feather away from their area. If the feather went over the edge in your area, you were out. This was great fun and definitely wore out our competitive princesses. 

The final game was a memory game, in which I had filled a tray with all kinds of Indian related items like spices, a scarf, a henna cone, a paper mache elephant, tiffin, statue of Ganesh, an Indian travel book, tea, incense, bangle bracelets, some rupees, a mortar and pestle, and more so that the tray was completely covered with objects. I uncovered the tray and explained to the girls what each item was called, how it was used and then covered up the tray again. We went around the room and had each girl name something off the tray from memory, trying not to repeat any of the items. I was so impressed! They really paid attention and had excellent recall. It was nice to use this teaching moment to challenge them just a bit.


 At last it was cake time! At Devi’s request, I had made a two tier peacock cake...with jewels...and candies...and a real peacock on top. Well, it had real feathers anyway. All in all, the party was a huge success and I think everyone left exhausted, full, and knowing a bit more about Indian culture. Success in my book, and in Devi’s. Lots of hugs were doled out along with many thank yous, namastes, and a few high fives as well. Days after I could hear our girls humming the prince song and pointing to their shiny nose ring and then up to the stars...


Auburn said...

What a beautiful and thoughtful party! I'm tucking these ideas away to use myself in the future!

Anonymous said...

So fun to see new posts. Thanks Julie! Of course your birthday party ideas are always the best on the block. Devi looked so beautiful, all decked in her Indian clothes & accessories.(: No doubt about it, you guys are going to have two gorgeous young ladies on your hands.....Pat is going to have it rough with the anti-dating tactics!!!

Peter and Nancy said...

What a fabulous theme party!! You are one creative mama -- I have been trying to sell Anya on this idea, but first she wants to do a Spanish party. So Feliz Cumpleanos a Devi!!

Miche said...

You plan the coolest birthday parties!! I love the updates :) I need to get on updating my blog.

Anonymous said...

Very sweetly done. Beautiful daughters. Hi I am new to your blog.


Karen said...

Ahh! What wonderful pictures of your grown-up girl. LOVE all the party details. Great cake - Wow!
Devi and Treya look so at ease in their beautiful Indian outfits. What a fun party!
xxoo Karen