Feliz Aniversário, Parabéns

XXXI Festival Internacional de Tunas Universitárias Cidade de Porto

The formal way of wishing someone a happy birthday in Portuguese is Feliz Aniversário but people usually use Parabéns which translates to "Congratulations". We experienced two very special anniversaries in Portugal that immersed us into the Portuguese culture in a way that wouldn't have been possible as a tourist.  

On Thursday, September 14, Paula's birthday, we went to a festival of music at her alma mater, the University of Porto. It was held outside on a stage in the square in front of the university.

A Tuna is a group of university students in traditional university dress who play traditional instruments and sing serenades. This originated in Spain and Portugal in the 13th century as a means of students to earn money or food. It helps them pay for all the espresso they drink! Source: Wikipedia 

The festival named in the title of this blog entry is organized by Orfeão Universitário do Porto which has two Tunas: Tuna Universitária do Porto (men) and Tuna Feminina do Orfeão Universitário do Porto (women). TUNAF was the first female Tuna in Portugal. Paula and her university cronies were the founding members of TUNAF in 1997. On this night, alumni members of TUNAF including Paula, Ana and others were invited to sing on stage with the current members.

Paula singing on stage with current and alumni members of TUNAF

  Current and Alumni members of TUNAF backstage. Photo credit: Amy 1.5

Current and Alumni members of TUNAF backstage. Photo credit: Amy 1.5

So to recap... 

  1. It's Paula's 50th Birthday
  2. It's the 31st anniversary of the international festival of university tunas held at U. Of Porto
  3. It's the 30th anniversary of the founding of TUNAF
  4. The event is held outdoors and free to the public for the first time in its history
  5. Paula is reunited with original members of TUNAF
  6. Paula sang on stage with fellow alumni and current members of TUNAF
  7. And, it's Paula's 50th birthday... 

That all being said, it was a special night for Paula and we felt honored to experience this tradition first hand. 

A party and a half... 

When Ana Paula Ferreira decides to throw a party she means business! On, Saturday, September 16, Ana and her family hosted a birthday party for Paula that was open house style. It started early and ended in the wee hours of the morning.

People from all different aspects of Paula's life in Portugal (and the Americans, Kim, Amy 1.0, Sanae and Danna) celebrated with her. To say there was food and drink is an understatement of the greatest kind. Some of my favorites were the Bacalhau, Bola de Carne, Arroz de Pato and Tremoços to name just a few. Ana's husband, Vasco created a carefully thought out bar with Portuguese wine and port wine. 

And dessert? The Portuguese people LOVE their desserts. Ana asked the guests to bring a dessert from the region where they live. Ana insisted that since people would be coming and going all day that everyone have the opportunity to sing her happy birthday (Parabéns a você). Ana's mother made three birthday cakes and Paula blew out candles three times! 

 Most people get one birthday cake....

Most people get one birthday cake....

An enorme "Obrigada" (thank you) to our wonderful hosts, the Costa family. They made us feel like their own family members and made this a trip to remember forever. 

 Clockwise from left: Marta, Duarte (doesn't he look thrilled?) Ana, Vasquinho, Amy 1.0, Kim, Amy 1.5, Vasco and Paula

Clockwise from left: Marta, Duarte (doesn't he look thrilled?) Ana, Vasquinho, Amy 1.0, Kim, Amy 1.5, Vasco and Paula