There are many types of parties that exist, and they vary across different ages and cultures. In very basic terms, a party is simply a social gathering. Usually, a party will have a specific theme or objective. Most people love parties, so it's not surprising that they exist for several different reasons.
There are celebratory parties where people will gather together to celebrate an event that happened recently or long ago. For example, there are birthday parties where people celebrate the day that they were born. There are also anniversary parties, where couples celebrate a milestone in their marriage (e.g. 50 years). Many parties also celebrate historical events such as Independence Day, which is celebrated on July 4th every year.
There are other types of parties that don't celebrate a specific event or milestone. They are social gatherings based around a particular theme. For example, there are fancy dress parties (where everyone dresses in very formal clothing). You might also find more obscure themes like "70's parties," where everyone dresses as if they are living in the 1970's.
Moreover, many parties celebrate religious holidays, like Christmas and Easter. These types of parties are often very family oriented, however they can also happen outside of the home (such as in the workplace). The are many non-religious holidays celebrated with parties, such as Halloween. Typically at a Halloween party, participants will wear many different types of costumes.
These are some other very common types of parties:
- Retirement parties - a celebration of the end to one's working life and the start of a very relaxed lifestyle
- House warming parties - a celebration for when people just move into a new house and want to invite their family and friends to see their house and share in the excitement
- Wedding and engagement parties - events where family and friends celebrate new marriages
- "Going away" parties - events that exist when a person or people are moving geographical locations, with respect to work or life in general
- Bachelor/bachelorette parties - similar to engagement parties, except they are generally attended by only men (groom and his male friends) or women (the bride and her friends).
It's very common for parties to involve the giving of gifts. In general, those who are attending a party bring gifts to the the person or people hosting the party. Gifts will vary depending on the purpose of the party. Wedding parties often invite more expensive gifts due to the significance of the event. However, Halloween parties may not require any gifts, or perhaps only require something small such as candy and other food.
For parties attended by adults, it's very common for there to be alcohol provided, such as wine or beer. While some parties can become a bit out of control due to alcohol, most people consider the presence of alcohol a way to enhance the enjoyment of the party, even if not everyone is drinking it.
Regardless of what type of party it is, most parties exist so that the participants have an enjoyable time. Laughter, fun, and good company are all what parties are about. Celebration is one of the most treasured aspects of many cultures, and parties make a great outlet for this to occur.