I have only the fondest memories of my own Quinceanera, which took place a decade and some ago. I remember every detail from my dress to my waltz and most of all I remember the fun times I had with my family during the planning process. It was all so magical and pure and I felt like the center of the universe.  In retrospect, I also recall my lack of inquisition about the actual significance behind a “Quince”, except what my parents told me it was-a traditional Mexican debutant celebration, commemorating a young girl’s transformation to womanhood. In my parent’s eyes, it meant a reason to celebrate BIG and that I could wear make-up.

Over the weekend, my niece celebrated her “Quince” in the same fashion. The big dress, the bling, the waltz and some additional perks that I didn’t relish in my time, like her father putting on her fairy-like shoes, channeling Cinderella in a father daughter custom.  She radiated nothing less than happiness and her glow was eminent, provoking me to reminisce on my own day.  However, I can’t help but wonder if my niece knows the connotation behind this tradition.  Which also makes me question the validity of it and whether its essence has become blemished over time.

Over the years, I have partaken in several quince celebrations and I have become cognizant of the fact that today’s Quinceaneras are steadily becoming grander and thus far more elaborate, incorporating a hefty price tag which parents are gladly obliging to.  A dominating element that resonates with this tradition is that it is a way for Latino parents to show they have done a good job in raising their child, and are financially prosperous. However, where do parents draw the line? Is it about who has the most extravagant and intricate celebration or is it about the actual traditional value? In the new generation, young girls may be losing sight of the actual meaning behind a Quinceanera, as they are caught up in the aesthetic appeal of this tradition.  It is important to continue to carry on this Mexican tradition and not lose sight of the actual meaning behind it.

I can honestly say that I wouldn’t trade my “Quince” for anything in the world, however, I do realize the sacrifice my parents made in order to provide me this celebration was a considerable one.  I am quite grateful for their sacrifice, as well as the memory of such an epic day.

[Image by Eneas]