Posted: December 27, 2012 by jennroig in Chronicles, English, Miscellaneous
Tags: , , , , , ,

For a girl -at least a girl raised by a Cuban family- turning 15 is a big deal. My little cousin just turned 15 some days ago.

Quinceañera by Carmen Lomas Garza

Quinceañera by Carmen Lomas Garza

I’m a radical anti parties now, but I was a conservative anti parties back on the 90’s, when I turned 15. I remember my mom was very excited for the event, which happened during the “Periodo Especial” in Cuba. Luckily it was not the hardest time which had already been left behind, but still, it was pretty hard. Well, my mom prepared the whole celebration at home, she decorated the backyard, invited people, managed to find food for catering, and ask around to her friends who could lend her some fancy dress for me to wear and get photographed. I felt it like a torture, to be trapped in those dresses. And then the whole preparation, but that was heaven in comparison to the “magic” day.

My house was crowded, some people I had invited showed up and some others came as well, whom I had never seen before. To be honest, I spent better time with those strangers than with my actual friends, because all of them were kind of spooked or stucky, not sure why.

So, I had promised to myself that I would never get involved again in such madness… but my little cousin turned 15.

To be noticed: I turned 15 in Cuba, but my cousin arrived to the USA as a baby. Here, celebrating 15 for a Cuban American girl, it’s an event at a whole new level. I’m talking about a highly produced celebration in which families invest time, resources, plenty of energy and emotional capital. Every member of the family gets fully engaged, and several selected friends have also a very important role to play, they are the court dancers.maskedgrpend

I arrived with a friend, who ended up as bedazzled as myself, about the whole thing. My relatives had arrived earlier, to take care of the final details. It was a nice -expensive- banquethall, golden lights, round tables, wooden dance floor. The ritual started a bit late, as every self-respected ritual should start. The court arrived first, and then the princess of the night. Long reinassance dress, full makeup, professionally hair-dressed. Indeed, she was beautiful as Catherine the Great might have been at that age.

From there the ceremony run similar to others, music, coreography… but when the dancers stopped, I was surprised for the new practice. Cuban Americans include a scene that Cubans haven’t picked up yet, at least as far as I know. The father grabbed the microphone to cherish the beloved daughter in a speech, then the brother, and then some of the closest friends. This is an emotional episode, dramatic, tear-dropping moment, even for me. So much that I don’t get how come Cubans haven’t picked it up, considering how much of a drama lovers we are.

That’s pretty much the summary of the night. From there it was only loud teenagers’ music as usual. I had time enough to guess the math of the event, and realize how much of an industry has been built and developed around the “quinceañeras”. book

This is the list:

– Banquethall + Catering + Decoration: I don’t know the actual figure they spent, but I was told by my uncle’s wife that you can find a variaty of choices, renting the hall unfurnished and renting furniture from another supplier and the food from a third different, or getting everything together.

– Coreographer

– Photography and video

– Photography Set

– Flowers

– Theme-Cake

– Dresses and shoes

– Renting the dresses of the court kids

– decorative accesories

– DJ

– Gas, foods, car milleage….


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