Before I head into the birthday post, let me clarify what an invitation means in Nicaragua: The person inviting absorbs all costs incurred by the invitee. Example- If i invite you to dinner- I'm paying. If you invite me- you pay. If we agree to eat dinner at the same time in the same place, we both pay for our own meals. If I invite you to my a party, all that may be required is a gift, and thats usually for you to deicide. If I tell you i am having a fiesta de traje it would be something similar to a BYOB or potluck depending on what you ask the invitee to bring. These types of parties aren't as common here from what i've seen. You may decide to contribute, but, again, thats for you to decide. Essentially, the custom here that if you are celebrating something, you invite people to celebrate with you, but its at your own expense!
That being said I wanted my co-workers, family, and friends to celebrate with me. My PCV (peace corps volunteer) friends understand that its ok, and even encouraged to contribute to the party if possible. But when invitations were extended to my nica friends and family... all sorts of confusion ensued. =/
In the end everything worked out fine, everyone had fun, and for the most part my funds are still intact. =)