Last month, we had the pleasure of attending my cousin, Cecilia’s quinceañera in my hometown of Eagle Pass, Texas. We hadn’t been to a quinceañera in a long time, and if your family is like my family, I knew it was going to be a nonstop pachanga. Quinceañera is the Spanish word for a 15-year-old girl. According to funattic.com, in Latin America, it is the name given for the coming of age celebration on a girl’s birthday party. This is one of the most widespread Latin American celebrations that are celebrated all the way from Argentina to Mexico. Among the Aztec Indians, a girl was considered ready for marriage at the age of 15. This celebration sprung up as a result of this important age. Parents were supposed to beseech their girls-now-turned-women to become good outstanding wives in the future. These occasions were originally reserved for the high and mighty in society but this changed as more Latin people have migrated into the United States and made it more of an expression of their ethnic origins. The celebration is now widespread among the socio-economic classes of the USA and the Latin American region. These parties are now established as their way of celebrating the past as a girl and welcoming the future as a woman, ready for responsibilities. Pretty much launching future Chingonas.
Cecilia’s quince was unique and different from any quince we’ve been to. To begin with, her dress was not white. It was hot pink! Which is totally my color! Cecilia is the type of girl that marches to the beat of her own drum, full of life, so of course, I would expect nothing else from her! She also didn’t want any damas! OMAIGA!! GUAU!! Cecilia explains, “I did not want any damas because they're so dramatic! Having to practice a dance, worry about them paying for the dress on time, then having to invite their family. It just would have been too much of a hassle for my parents.” A simple yet, truthful statement. I’ve participated in several quinces, and boy do I know the commitment it requires. So, in my opinion, she was totally smart to 86 the damas! Plus this fiesta is about her!
Also different, what she decided to do after a dance with her father, and instead of a traditional waltz with damas, she danced with her tíos and brother to songs that they picked! Each one different, crazy, and guaranteed to move the hips and feet!
My Brother Vinny
"My brother Vicente and I danced to the songs "Staying Alive" and "Jump On It" for funsies. We had originally decided that we were not going to dance together, but my mother set us straight. The dance routines were unofficially practiced in our home, then we just added the bells and whistles in our knockout performance. We had the crowd on their feet!"
“I danced the classic "El Vals De Las Mariposas" and "Charanga y Mambo" with my Tío Beto because he has that old fashion, classic type of dance style, but the second song really showed our true Mexican colors and our love for dancing. Both songs just really suited the both of us and set the tone for the whole night.”
“In the second dance, I needed something fast, upbeat like "La Negra Esther" for my Tío Rica better known as the “Mexican Elvis”! We never practiced the dance, so at the XV we both just came out doing our own thing. You would never really know what kind of twist and turns Tio Rica would do which went perfectly with the song. He’s a totally unpredictable on the dance floor, which makes him a great dancing partner.”
“The song I danced with Tío Mike was called “You Dropped a Bomb on Me“. I had already set a different song for us to dance to, but this past Easter we were all dancing and that song came on. Tío Mike and I knew from then on that this was the song for us. We both just love dancing to old school songs.
“Tío Rey was so indecisive about choosing the "perfect" song so I was going through my playlist and "Shout" came on, and we both just got into the song and we came up with such a fun, upbeat, entertaining routine that looked perfect that night.”
My last dance was with my Tío Juan from San Antonio. The distance didn't affect us at all. He really kept me on my toes because we hadn't officially chosen a song so the day of the XV he gave me a hug and a kiss and told me "follow me" then the song "Do the Hustle" came on and we just went with it! It honestly looked like we practiced and you could really feel our connection when we danced.”
A Chingona with a Vision
“My vision for my XV was to mainly bring both of my large families together and to really embrace the tradition of San Antonio Fiesta. I am one of the youngest of numerous cousins on both sides of my family. They all went there separate ways so I was just so excited to see us all together. I remember telling my mom,”I don't even care if any of my friends go I can't wait to to see my family.” Because at the end of the day, that’s what this is all about. Familia. And this event was about unifying us all under a room of culture, color, music, and food.”
“My future goals include finishing school and going to college. I hope to be a strong, independent woman and a leader of my community while earning a degree in psychology or in fine arts. Lastly, I hope to build a strong loving family like the family I was raised in, and never forget where I came from.”
“A Chingona to me is someone having such poise and intelligence but still being a badass and having that fierce wisdom in her eyes. A Chingona is having the guts to keep going through mental or physical pain. When you just want to give up, but you have that fire in you to keep on going. A Chingona is standing up for yourself and for what you believe in. A Chingona is humble. A Chingona is beautiful. A Chingona is a Queen.”
La Familia Es Todo
Thank you all for reading up on this non-stop party, and help me wish Cecilia a very Feliz Cumple Años! The bigger the family, the bigger the party! We had a ton of fun, danced so much, and yes, there was an even an after party with menudo! Puro Eagle Pass!
¡ Hasta la próxima!