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People at a birthday party in the United States.

A party is a gathering of people who have been invited by a host for the purposes of socializing, conversation, and recreation. A party will typically feature food and beverages, and often music and dancing as well.

Some parties are held in honor of a specific person, day, or event (e.g., a birthday party, a Super Bowl party, or a St. Patrick’s Day party). Parties of this kind are often called celebrations.

A party is not necessarily a private occasion. Public parties are sometimes held in pubs and bars, and people attending such parties may be charged an admission fee by the host.

Contents

Types of parties

Birthday party

British children at a birthday party.

A birthday party is a celebration of the anniversary of the birth of the person who is being honored. Birthday parties are a feature of many cultures.

In Western cultures, particularly in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, birthday parties are often accompanied by colorful decorations, such as balloons and streamers. A birthday cake is often served with candles that are to be blown out after a “birthday wish” has been made. The birthday boy/girl gets the first piece of cake. While the birthday cake is being brought to the table, the song Happy Birthday to You is sung by the guests. Event management agencies and professional party services are being utilized increasingly to organize birthday parties.[citation needed]

Themed birthday parties are growing increasingly popular as licensed plates, streamers, napkins and piñatas are being distributed with characters from kids' games, books, television shows, movies and even websites.[1]

A child’s birthday party may be held at his/her home or in a public place. Soft drinks are often served alongside water and both sweet and savory foods. In many cultures, a birthday cake is served. Birthday parties for children often feature entertainment, party games and goody bags. Adults’ birthday parties in Western countries are often held in restaurants, bars or nightclubs. In some cultures, guests are expected to bring birthday gifts.

There are a wide range of gifts given at birthday parties. For kids, toys like barbies, action figures, and stuffed animals are popular. For teens and adults, in addition to more personalized gifts, gift cards to his/her favorite store are also popular. Some people opt to have gifts given to others in donation, instead of accepting gifts for themselves. For children, popular benefiting charities are animal shelters and rescue houses. For adults, political or social causes may be chosen more often.

Surprise party

A surprise party is a party that is not made known beforehand to the person in whose honor it is being held.

Birthday surprise parties are the most common kind of surprise party. At most such parties, the guests will arrive an hour or so before the honored person arrives. Often, a friend in on the surprise will lead the honored person to the location of the party without letting on anything.

The guests might even conceal themselves from view, and when the honored person enters the room, they leap from hiding and all shout, "Surprise!" For some surprise birthday parties, it is considered to be a good tactic to shock the honored person. Streamers, silly string, and balloons may be used for this purpose. Evidence of a party, such as decorations and balloons, are not made visible from the exterior of the home, so that the honored person will suspect nothing.[2]

Parties for teenagers and young adults

Parties that are held by teenagers and young adults include house parties, dance parties, and outdoor parties.

The term “house party” refers to a party where a large group of people get together at a private home to socialize. House parties that involve the drinking of beer pumped from a keg are called keg parties or “keggers.” These parties are popular in the North America and Australia but are illegal for persons under the legal drinking age. Sometimes, even older partygoers run afoul of the law for having provided alcoholic beverages to minors. Arrests may also be made for violating a noise ordinance, for disorderly conduct,[3] and even for operating a “blind pig.”

Dance parties and gatherings in bars or community centers where the guests dance to house music, techno music, or disco. The music for dance parties is usually selected and played by a disc jockey.

A spin-off of dance parties, the rave involves dancing to loud house music or techno music. Rave parties may be attended by as few as a score of people in a basement or, more likely, by a few hundred people in a club, to as many as thousands in a large warehouse, field, or even tens of thousands in a sporting arena, city block, or other large space. Outdoor parties include bush parties and beach parties. Bush parties (also called “field parties”) are held in a secluded area of a forest (“bush”), where friends gather to drink and talk. These parties are often held around a bonfire. Beach parties are held on a sandy shoreline of a lake, river, or sea, and also often feature a bonfire.

College parties are parties thrown by college students.[4] They most often refer to house parties, but can also include dance and outdoor parties. They frequently involve excessive amounts of alcohol and drinking games.[4]

School-related parties for teenagers and young adults include proms and graduation parties, which are held in honor of someone who has recently graduated from a school or university.

A crush party is a party in a sorority or fraternity where the sisters or brothers are given a certain number of invitations (according to their “crushes”). These are passed on to friends outside of the sorority/fraternity and given to the “crushes” (while keeping secret the name of the inviter). There may be some sort of disclosure at the party, so that the guests can find out who has a crush on her/him.

Singles dance party and mixer

A singles dance party and mixer is a party which is organized for people who are not married and who want to find a partner for friendship, dating, or sex.

Usually a “mixer game” is played, to make it easy for people to meet each other. For example, each guest may be given a card with an inspiring quotation on it. The game is to find someone of the opposite sex who has the same quotation. Couples who have matching cards may be given a small prize.

These parties are sponsored by various organizations, both non-profit and for-profit.

Marriage-related parties

Dinner party

An invitation to a dinner party, 1818.

A dinner party is a social gathering at which people eat dinner together, usually in the host’s home. At the most formal dinner parties, the dinner is served on a dining table with place settings. Dinner parties are often preceded by a cocktail hour[5] in a living room or bar, where guests drink alcoholic beverages while mingling and conversing.

At less formal dinner parties, a buffet is provided. Guests choose food from the buffet and eat while standing up and conversing. Women guests may wear cocktail dresses; men may wear blazers.

At some informal dinner parties, the host may ask guests to bring food or beverages (a main dish, a side dish, a dessert, or appetizers). A party of this type is called a potluck or potluck dinner. In the United States, potlucks are very often held in churches and community centers.

Tea party

In Anglo-American culture, a tea party is a formal gathering for afternoon tea. These parties are traditionally attended only by women, but men may also be invited.

Tea parties are often characterized by the use of prestigious tableware, such as bone china and silver. The table, whatever its size or cost, is made to look its prettiest, with cloth napkins and matching cups and plates.

In addition to tea, larger parties may serve punch or, in cold weather, hot chocolate. The tea is accompanied by a variety of easily managed foods. Thin sandwiches such as cucumber or tomato, cake slices, buns, and cookies are all common choices.

Housewarming party

A housewarming party may be held when a family, couple, or person moves into a new house or apartment. It is an occasion for the hosts to show their new home to their friends. Housewarming parties are typically informal and do not include any planned activities other than a tour of the new house or apartment. Invited family members and friends may bring gifts for the new home.

Block party

A block party is a public party that is attended by the residents of a specific city block or neighborhood. These parties are typically held in a city street that has been closed to traffic to accommodate the party.

At some block parties, attendees are free to pass from house to house, socializing, and often drinking alcoholic beverages.

Welcome party

A welcome party is held for the purpose of welcoming a newcomer, such as a new club member, a new employee, or a family's new baby.

Farewell party

In many cultures, it is customary to throw a farewell party in honor of someone who is moving away or departing on a long trip.

Cast party

A cast party is a celebration following the final performance of a theatric event, such as a play, a musical, or an opera. A party of this kind may also be held following the end of shooting for a motion picture (called a “wrap party”) or after the season’s final episode of a television series. Cast parties are traditionally held for most theater performances, both professional and amateur.

Invited guests are usually restricted to performers, crew members, and a few others who did not participate in the performance.

Pre-party

A pre-party is a party that is held immediately before some event, such as a school dance, a wedding, a birthday party, or a bar mitzvah. These parties are usually of short duration and sometimes involve getting ready for the event (e.g., the guests may put on makeup or costumes). Guests usually leave at the same time and arrive at the event together.

After-party

An after-party is a party that is held after a musical or theatric performance or after some other event, such as a wedding or a school dance. Guests are usually limited to friends of the host.

Fundraising party

A fundraising party, or fundraiser, is a party that is held for the purpose of collecting money that will be given to some person or to some institution, such as a school, charity, business, or political campaign. These parties are usually formal and consist of a dinner followed by speeches or by a presentation extolling whatever the money is being raised for.

It is very common to charge an admission fee for parties of this kind. This fee may be as high as several thousand dollars, especially if money is being raised for a political campaign.

Parties on special days

Around the World

Australia

Canada

Christian

France

India

International

Iran

Ireland

Islamic

Jewish

New Zealand

Scotland

Sweden

United Kingdom

United States

Famous parties

Other parties

An offshoot of the classic masquerade ball. The costumes of guests provide the theme of the event.
A social gathering during which the guests play party games.
A party that involves multi-player computer games and uses a Local Area Network.
A party that is hosted in a private home for the purpose of supporting a particular candidate, political party, or ballot measure, or to share information and opinions about an upcoming election.
  • A pool party
A party in which the guests swim in a private swimming pool.
A party for which the guests are invited to stay overnight at the home of the host. These parties are usually for teenagers or young children.
A party in which the guests wear togas. Toga parties were popularized by the movie Animal House.
  • A sandwich party
A party in which the guests each bring a sandwich to share, similar to a potluck. A Sandwich Day party is celebrated on the first Saturday after November 3rd.

See also

References

  1. ^ Homemade Birthday Party Planning
  2. ^ Surprise Party Ideas From Evite
  3. ^ Law would tag beer kegs to fight use by the young “While it affects all adults who buy kegs, the proposed law is aimed at the 21-to-23-year-old crowd, particularly college students, who don’t think twice about buying a keg or 10 for a weekend bash.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2001-11-04.
  4. ^ a b College Party Info At Partizzle.com
  5. ^ The Cocktail Hour: One Man’s Strong and Unyielding Opinions

Bibliography

  • Tung, Jennifer (2005). In Style Parties: The Complete Guide to Easy, Elegant Entertaining. New York: Melcher Media, Inc. ISBN 978-1-932994-11-7. 







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