As I mentioned previously, on my birthday we had the opportunity to attend our first quinceañera.   It's been a couple of weeks, but I wanted to go ahead and take the time to share the experience with you, because it was like none I have had before.  The closest I have come is watching MTV's Super Sweet Sixteen, but this involved a much less bratty birthday girl.

How did we end up at a quinceañera, you ask?  Well, when Dave was finishing up his time teaching in Reno and we were getting ready to move to Mexico one of his previous students told him that her sister would be having her quinceañera in Mexico City in the next years and she wanted to invite our family.  Dave didn't think much of it at the time.  I hate to burst your bubble, but high school students do not always follow through with the things they tell their teachers, and an invite to a party in another country seemed particularly improbable.  However, a year later a message popped up on facebook officially inviting us to the  quinceañera.  Surprise! 

So we dressed up for the event, took a cab WAY across town and joined the party.

Now, if you have never experienced a  quinceañera  either let me first say that they are not all the same and we only attended the after party.  There is a more traditional church service that takes place before the party.  As the majority of Mexicans are Catholic (at least in name), the whole event is something akin to a confirmation mixed with a coming out party.

Anyway, the party took place at a banquet hall and the room was set up very much like a wedding reception with round tables around a dance floor each with a large floral centerpiece.  As we entered (fashionably late as we have learned is standard in Mexican culture) the birthday girl was in the center of the dance floor surrounded by six young male dancers.  This was her entrance dance and the first of five choreographed dances which were performed throughout the evening.  The male dancers were hired for the for event (I have included a shot of their business card if you are interested:)) and the birthday girl came down from the US a month early to learn each of the dances.  

After the entrance dance there was a brief ceremony with the family where the birthday girl received a tiara.  Unfortunately, my Spanish is still limited so I understood very little of this.  Next came a choreographed father daughter dance which began with the waltz and went through an eclectic dance mix including both the chicken dance and T-Pain's Apple Bottom Jeans.  This was followed by a dance in which each male family member was presented with a rose.  Next came the dances with the hired dance team including a waltz, a Michael Jackson number, and a Shakira number.  The birthday girl and her dancers had a costume change for each dance.  Oh and I can't forget the guy who's job it was solely to periodically shoot off a confetti cannon over the dancers!

This was followed by a three course meal during which a solist dressed in traditional mariachi costume sang and showed a video of himself with various Mexican celebrities (a little self-absorbed for my taste). Throughout the evening professional photographers and videographers documented the event.  I am sure that in years to come the birthday girl is going to wonder about the shots of gringos she never met before.

Unfortunately, we had to leave at this point.  It was already nearing midnight and we had a long drive back and a toddler to pick up from the baby-sitter.  I do know that there was a very large wedding-looking cake to be served and as we exited we passed two clowns on stilts with balloons who were headed into the party.  Also, one of the birthday girl's aunt's stopped me and told me that we should not leave yet because the party was just getting started.  I was a little too pregnant to picture myself dancing the night away though.

Oh well, I think I experienced enough to say I have been to a quinceañera.  Above all it made me glad that I will not have a daughter who grows up in Mexico, because that was one expensive event!  


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