Parties of this kind are often called celebrations. A party is not necessarily a private occasion. Public parties are sometimes held in restaurants , pubs , beer gardens , nightclubs or bars , and people attending such parties may be charged an admission fee by the host. Large parties in public streets may celebrate events such as Mardi Gras or the signing of a peace treaty ending a long war.
Types of party "Birthday party" redirects here. For other uses, see Birthday party disambiguation. A birthday cake with lit novelty candles Children at a birthday party A birthday party is a celebration of the anniversary of the birth of the person who is being honored.
The tradition started in the mid-nineteenth century but did not become popular until the mid-twentieth century. In Western cultures , birthday parties include a number of common rituals. The guests may be asked to bring a gift for the honored person.
Party locations are often decorated with colorful decorations, such as balloons and streamers. A birthday cake is usually served with lit candles that are to be blown out after a "birthday wish" has been made. The person being honored will be given the first piece of cake. While the birthday cake is being brought to the table, the song " Happy Birthday to You " or some other birthday song is sung by the guests. At parties for children, time is often taken for the "gift opening" wherein the individual whose birthday is celebrated opens each of the gifts brought.
It is also common at children's parties for the host to give parting gifts to the attendees in the form of "goodie bags".
Children and even adults sometimes wear colorful cone-shaped party hats. Birthday parties are often larger and more extravagant if they celebrate someone who has reached what is regarded in the culture as a milestone age, such as transition from childhood to adulthood. Surprise party "Surprise party" redirects here. For other uses, see Surprise party disambiguation. 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!
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 person honored will suspect nothing. 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 in a living room or bar, where guests drink cocktails 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. Garden party A garden party is a party in a park or a garden. An event described as a garden party is usually more formal than other outdoor gatherings, which may be called simply parties, picnics , barbecues , etc. A garden party can be a prestigious event. For example, invitations by the British Sovereign to garden parties at Buckingham Palace are considered an honor.
Cocktail party Main article: Cocktail party A cocktail party is a party at which cocktails are served. It is sometimes called a "cocktail reception". Women who attend a cocktail party may wear a cocktail dress.
A cocktail hat is sometimes worn as a fashion statement. Tea party Main article: Tea party social gathering In Anglo-American culture, a tea party is a formal gathering for afternoon tea. These parties were 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, bananas , cake slices , buns , and cookies are all common choices. Reception Reception at an art exhibition opening Formal receptions are parties that are designed to receive a large number of guests, often at prestigious venues such as Buckingham Palace , the White House or Government Houses of the British Empire and Commonwealth.
The hosts and any guests of honor form a receiving line in order of precedence near the entrance. Each guest is announced to the host who greets each one in turn as he or she arrives. Each guest properly speaks little more than his name if necessary and a conventional greeting or congratulation to each person in the receiving line. In this way, the line of guests progresses steadily without unnecessary delay.
After formally receiving each guest in this fashion, the hosts may mingle with the guests. Somewhat less formal receptions are common in academic settings, sometimes to honor a guest lecturer , or to celebrate a special occasion such as retirement of a respected member of staff. Receptions are also common in symposium or academic conference settings, as an environment for attendees to mingle and interact informally. These gatherings may be accompanied by a sit-down dinner, or more commonly, a stand-up informal buffet meal.
Receptions are also held to celebrate exhibition openings at art galleries or museums. The featured artist or artists are often present, as well as the curators who organized the exhibition. In addition or instead, a celebratory reception may be held partway through or at the end of an exhibition run.
This alternative scheduling allows guests more time to see the exhibition in depth at their own pace, before meeting the featured guests.
Some food is often served, as in academic gatherings. Refreshments at a reception may be as minimal, such as coffee or lemonade, or as elaborate as those at a state dinner. Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
May Learn how and when to remove this template message In the 18th century, in France and England, it became fashionable for wealthy, well married ladies who had a residence "in town" to invite accomplished guests to visit their home in the evening, to partake of refreshments and cultural conversation.
Society hostesses included actresses or other women with a larger-than-life reputation. Dances and balls Main article: Dance party A dance is a social gathering at which the guests dance.
It may be a casual, informal affair or a structured event, such as a school dance or a charity ball. Dances usually take place during the evening. An afternoon dance is formally known as a tea dance. Some dances feature specific kinds of dancing, such as square dancing. A ball is a large formal party that features ballroom dancing. Women guests wear ball gowns ; men wear evening dress. Block party Main articles: Block party and Street 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. Costume or fancy dress party At a masquerade ball , guests wear masks to conceal their identities.
Guests at a costume party or a fancy dress party wear costumes. These parties are sometimes associated with holiday events, such as Halloween and Mardi Gras. Christmas caroling party In English and American culture during the Christmas season, it is traditional to have a Christmas caroling party.
People go from door to door in a neighborhood and sing Christmas carols. In Spain, this type of party is called El Aguinaldo. It is the same as in England and the United States, but the only difference is that the children who sing the carols are given tips.
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 , techno music , or industrial 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, amusement park, or other large space.
Raves are associated with illegal drugs such as Ecstasy and psychedelic drugs. A house party is 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. Sometimes, even older party-goers 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 ,  and even for operating a " blind pig ", an establishment that illegally sells alcoholic beverages.
On college campuses, parties are often hosted by fraternities.