Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Niece's Quinceanera

This is my brother with his beautiful daughter.  (Since her mother doesn't use my niece's name on her blog, I won't either.  We'll just call her "The Birthday Girl.")  I went to Southern California last weekend to attend her Quinceanera, which is a traditional Mexican event to celebrate a young girl's 15th birthday.  There is a religious component, where the family thanks God for bringing their child to this day and asks for his continued guidance as she moves into womanhood:
There can be various other parts of the ceremony, such as the exchanging of flat shoes for the girl's first pair of high heels.  My niece skipped that part but did receive her "last doll" from her Godparents:
The birthday girl will often have a court of young men and women:
And it has become quite popular lately for there to be an elaborate set of dances done by the court.  The kids will practice these for weeks to get them right:
My daughter Clara was excited to get a new dress and to spend time with her cousins (here she is with her cousin, the birthday girl's sister):
I was happy to get my family all dressed up and have our picture taken:
A good time was had by all (here's one of my other brothers dancing with his little girl):
My niece has been looking forward to this day for a long time, and she truly looked liked a Princess and comported herself like a beautiful young woman. 
We were all sooo proud of her!  I didn't have a Quinceanera, and Clara won't have one either.  But I'm happy to see this tradition continue in at least part of my family.  I think it's good to have ceremonies which mark the passage into adulthood and give teenagers an opportunity to think consciously and concretely about the type of adult they want to become.  For those of you with children, do you (or did you) have any plans to do something like this with your own children?

17 comments:

Amy said...

Apart from the religious aspect this looks and sounds like what we call a 'Debut'. I didn't make my debut and I am not sure if my daughter will either. In Australia a Debut is like a coming out into society and all the girls wear white ball gowns and learn traditional ball dances, it is usually done in the second last year of high school.

helena said...

Looks a lovely event. We didn't do anything like this - 21st birthday used to be a big deal but not any more and nothing has replaced that. I think 15 is a great birthday to mark with family and friends.

Heather said...

Your niece looks so beautiful in that dress and your family must have had a fab time. Goodness isn't your husband tall!! Great photos Rinda :)
Unfortunately we don't have a celebration like that though the 'Sweet 16' idea from the US is getting more popular (I work in a greetings card shop & the demand for age 16 cards is on the increase). xx

Cheri said...

With the "court" and that dress, the ceremony looks quite a bit like a wedding! Thanks to MTV, "Sweet 16" is becoming a fairly big deal... but my kids chose to take the cash over the party so when they are ready to buy a car, the parents owe a sizeable donation!

Sian said...

Wow, what a lovely ceremony. We don't have anything at all like this - which is a shame, really. I think I would have enjoyed a "rite of passage" they are so important for so many cultures and I can see why.

She looks absolutely radiant. Thank you for introducing me to something new again today Rinda.

scrappyjacky said...

This looks like a wonderful tradition,Rinda....we have nothing like it.......celebrations for an 18th birthday are the nearest thing we have.
I love the photo of the four of you....and it looks very like you [like me and Sian] will soon be The Small One!!!!

Lesa said...

What a lovely family you have!! Traditions are special for sure. Thank you for the sweet comment on my blog, and yes, I liked working backwards!!

Mommy2CVC said...

My babies!!!! I love these pixs Rinda! I didn't have one and as you know I didn't have a big wedding either, and she literally has dreamed of it since she was 7. I offered her money, but she wanted the quinceanera and I'm glad we did. It was everything she wanted and more!! Now the 2nd one says she doesn't want one either, but I'm trying to talk her into the ceremony part only. (That can easily be done through my church) Thanks for the pixs and if you have any more please pass them on my way! So glad you were there with us and we got to spend Saturday together as well! Love you guys!

laurie said...

it is obvious that you have a very special family. sounds like a great time was had by all.

Irene said...

29 years ago I had my quinceniera. I will always treasure that special day with family and friends.
I had a small fifteenth for my two boys by attending regular Saturday mass and then having dinner and a dance afterward in the school gym we even had a pinata. We all had lots of fun.

Nancy Y said...

great photos, and Clara's dress is awesome!!

ComfyMom~Stacey said...

She looks lovely!

We are planning 'manhood ceremonies' for the boys when they turn 12. They get taken by the men & 'left alone' out in the woods for a night, though the guys will be nearby & the guys have something else planned for another night & then there is a big party when the men all return.

Jinnag said...

What a lovely tradition to have. Wonderful photos of a very special occasion. We have nothing like this - the nearest would have been a 21st (now 18th)birthday celebration when I was a girl - but it isn't quite the same - though I did get "the key of the door" when I was 21. Thanks for introducing me to this tradition. Jen x

Gloria said...

It's a great tradition and looks like everyone enjoyed it. I never had one, I don't know why??? Oh well, can't win them all. Tee hee.

Karen said...

What a fabulous party! Your family photo is a keeper, and I loved seeing the photos of your extended family and beautiful niece. The only coming-of-age ceremony we participated in was a confirmation luncheon when both kids joined the church their freshman year.

Lizzie said...

This is a lovely tradition, if it is kept in the right spirit. Your niece looks very happy and proud - as does your brother! Looks like a wonderful family occasion - great party!
I think it is very lovely to have some sort of "coming of age" ceremony or celebration for a young person. It's something that is rather lacking in British culture now; there is the 18th Birthday Party, but as that is also the legal age to buy alchohol, it does tend to degenerate into an excuse to get tipsy - or very drunk; pity really.
"Sweet 16" parties have become fashionable recently, for girls anyway. I'm not sure I like the idea though, as it seems to be an excuse for young women to ask their parents for expensive gifts and waste a lot of money on silliness. Having said that, my friend's daughter had a "Sweet 16" recently. She opted for a day out, with various friends. They hired a mini-bus and went to a water park/pool complex for the day. Little brother and little sister also brought friends and everyone had a great time. The girls did dress up and party a bit in the evening, but they were all very well behaved. That was a very Sweet 16-years-old party!
Lovely to see your family keeping the good traditions going - what a beautiful young lady your niece is; what a handsome family you have in general!

angelfish said...

What a wonderful tradition and one I had never heard of before.