Turning 15 is a big, big deal for a girl in Mexico. It’s time for a special dress and a party to rival a wedding. It probably is second only in importance to the girl’s wedding day. I have been to one 15th birthday party, well over a year ago, and it was a pretty spectacular affair. The family puts everything they have into it – both time and money. I found this article on the ‘Quinceañera’, when a girl becomes a woman, and it was so good I thought I’d post a taster below and a link to the full article.
The day of the quinceañera dawns raw and blustery, and clouds of dust scud along the main road of this quiet village. But outside the cinderblock church, and on the well-worn basketball court in the center of town, young girls are already threading long garlands of handmade blue paper flowers, and their older brothers are scaling ladders to stretch the strings overhead. Today is Seraya Butron Rodriguez’s 15th birthday, and like so many young Latin American girls, she’s been dreaming of her quinceañera, or "sweet 15" party, for as long as she can remember. Part sacred, part secular, the quinceañera marks the entrance of a young woman into adult society, and is thought to mix indigenous traditions with those of Spanish Catholic missionaries. While customs vary by country, region, and class – quinceañeras are sometimes lavish affairs, with limousines and legions of jeweled attendants – the events are always carefully choreographed. Here, in this tiny ejido, or communal-farm village, less than an hour’s drive south of the US border, the customs are modest, but the preparations are as exacting as a wedding’s.