Thursday, September 2, 2010

A Quinceañera

Deyja, pretty in purple, with the boys in her court

We never had been to a Quinceañera before, so we were happy to be invited to this one last weekend. Deyja is my son's girlfriend (he is to her left) and we have known her and her lovely family for several years.

The Quinceañera, a beloved tradition in Mexico and many parts of Latin America, is a coming of age celebration in a girl's 15th year ((quince años). A special mass on this day is a way for the parents to thank God for their daughter and to seek guidance as she approaches adulthood. Typically a dinner and dance follows. On this important day, for generations, families have introduced their daughter and celebrated the transformation of a little girl to a young woman. This event may be very elaborate or very simple, but typically there are certain elements included in most quiceaneras.

At Deyja's quinceanera, her mother spoke emotionally and tenderly to her (in Spanish, so I didn't get most of it, yet the emotion transcended words) and this was followed by the two of them dancing. Deyja's godfather then danced with her.

Next, her little sister brought a package to Deyja and inside were high heels. Her step-father replaced the Converse sneakers on her feet with the heels and then the two of them danced. This "changing of the shoes" was profoundly moving.

Afterward, the "last doll" was brought to Deyja, which she then gave to her little sister. The doll symbolizes the last of childhood things as the quinceañera moves toward adulthood. I can tell you that Deyja's little sister was very taken with the doll and seemed to be guarding it and admiring it for quite a while after the ceremony. Adorable!

Deyja presents the last doll to
her little sister as her mother looks on.

The dance portion came next, as Deyja and the boys in her court presented a choreographed dance. The boys had worked hard on this dance with hours of practice, and it showed. They did a fabulous job. After the court danced, an amazing hip hop troupe performed.

All ages were represented at the party from babies, to little ones running through the crowd with balloons to friends and cousins, aunts and grandparents. I love that Mexican events always include everyone of every age. Guests danced into the next morning.

Did you think I would forget about the food? But then, you know me better than that, don't you?

Beef Barbacoa, rice, beans and salad

It was spectacular! I love beef barbacoa and this weekend, I'm going to attempt to make it. I'll let you know the results!

And, congratulations Deyja! You are a beautiful quinceañera!

P.S. A special thanks to Cynthia Rothwell of Guatamalan Genes for helping me to better understand this cherished tradition. Much of the information above came from her.

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