When my mother was a little girl she had two Quinceanera’s. One celebration took place in Mexico and the other here in California. Looking back at my moms photo’s, I could see that both celebrations were huge and costly. I was the first of all my cousins to have a Quinceanera. My mother and other family members worked for over a year to plan the celebration that followed. It was the morning of my special day, there was so much to do and not much time to get it done. I had a 7 a. m. hair appointment to sweep my brown hair up in preparation for the crown t I would receive during the ceremony.
I then had to rush back home to dress in my light pink ball gown before heading to the church. I arrived to a church crowded with friends and family. So many people had gone to St. John’s Cathedral to witness the simple, yet elegant, tradition. There were also relatives from Mexico and Puerto Rico who took the long tiring trip to attend. I was honored to see so many people there on my special day. My court of honor led the way into the church. When it was my turn to walk down the aisle, soft music was played by the organist. I felt like a princess walking in my big, beautiful ball gown.
My gown was similar to a wedding dress except it was a pastel pink. When the ceremony started it was nerve racking. I was thinking about my hair and people staring at me from behind, and hoping my tiara or hair wouldn’t come down. I was hoping and praying that I didn’t fall on my face when I walked down the steps. Somehow, I managed to keep a smile on my face as if I had no fears. The ceremony included Bible verses and singing. I received six gifts from my aunts and uncles: a Bible, a bouquet of flowers, a ring, a bracelet, a rosary and a tiara. Each of them was blessed by the father.
Each gift I received held a meaning: closeness with family and with God, and the passage to womanhood. Later that day, the celebration continued with a party at Eagles Banquet Hall. As the festivities started, I was so happy about the night to come. My court of honor was introduced as they led me into the celebration. We started out the night by performing a traditional Quinceanera march. It was a choreographed routine that we practiced for five months leading up to that day. My father came out with tears in his eyes and softly removed my ballerina slippers from my feet and replaced them with a pair of woman’s heels.
With tears in his eyes, he grasped and hugged me so tight it was as if he didn’t want to let me go. My father and I started to dance the traditional father daughter dance. As the song was coming to the end, my father whispered in my ear, “ You’re a beautiful young woman, but you will always be my baby girl. ” At that moment, tears filled my eyes and I realized how much love my father had for me. I will always remember that moment for the rest of my life. My birthday was celebrated with a wedding style cake and 15 candles marking my age. It was 15 different tiers with 5 different flavors.
My favorite was the chocolate. The cake was so moist and delicious. It was served following dinner which consisted of traditional Mexican dishes. I could smell the food and it smelled delicious. The aroma of garlic and peppers from the slow roasted beef filled the air. The spices of cumin and cilantro from the Spanish rice made my my mouth water. When I walked into the room it reminded me of my grandmother’s kitchen. She always made delicious Mexican food. For my celebration my grandmother cooked all of the authentic Mexican dishes for all the guest to enjoy.
After dinner, the party continued well into the night. I could hear laughter and joy all around. I saw everyone dancing to traditional music and enjoying themselves. I was dancing with all of my relatives and other friends that were on the guest list. Usually I wouldn’t dance in front of my school friends, but on that night I was not embarrassed at all. Nothing seemed to matter, it was my night. My Quinceanera was the one night that I was the center of attention, and the night I was no longer considered a child. I was now a young woman.