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My Quinceanera MAG
I am Mexican, and we have unique customs. One, for young girls, is calledquinceanera, or sweet fifteen.
During the Aztec period women were treatedas second-class citizens, unimportant except for bearing children. When theSpanish conquered the Aztecs, they brought new customs. One was that young womenat age 15 had to choose between a life of marriage and a life dedicated to God.Today, some traditions have changed, and now quinceaneras means a young woman ispresented by her parents to the community. There is a special mass and party. Thegirl now has more responsibilities and is allowed to date. It celebrates thejourney into adulthood.
My mother has always talked to me aboutquinceaneras, but let me decide if I wanted one. I decided when I was 12 that Iwould. She took me to many quinceaneras to get ideas and talked to a lot of
people. My whole family wanted to help when I decided I'd haveone.
First we needed to choose the date. My mother told me she wanted meto be presented at the church and receive a blessing before my party. Then welooked at many halls for the reception, and I chose 14 girls and boys toparticipate as damas and chambelanes. They were to accompany me on my special dayand dance a waltz with me as my court of honor. I chose a tux for the chambelanesand a formal dress for the damas. Two months before, we met at my house to learnthe waltz.
I also chose five padrinos for the church. At the church theywere to present me with gifts. One gave me a medal, which signifies my promotionof faith. Another gave me a rosary, which symbolizes sacred scripture forinstruction and reflection. My third padrino gave me a ring, to show mycommitment to follow in God's path. I also received a crown to represent honor,victory and responsibility, and a bouquet of artificial flowers arranged toreflect new life. Bou-quets of real flowers are presented to the Virgin Mary tothank her and pray to her on my day.
The day of my quinceanera I had myhair done early before the mass that was held at 10 a.m. There were many familyand friends at the mass. The priest talked to me about my new duties andresponsibilities. My parents read a letter thanking God for me and asking me toalways be myself, and I read them a letter thanking them for everything they havedone for me. After the celebration at mass, the limousine took my court of honorand me to a resort for photographs, and then on to the reception. There we ateand greeted everyone while the mariachis played.
When dinner was over, wegot ready to perform the traditional waltz. When it was time, my court of honorand padrinos were introduced. My chambelan de honor walked in with my mother andmy father walked in with me. My father changed my shoes from flats to high heelsand we danced the traditional father-daughter waltz. Then I danced with mypadrinos, a waltz thanking them for everything they had done. We danced all nightand had fun. Later we cut the cake and thanked everyone with a toast of sparklingapple cider.
That night I felt really lucky that I had so many friendsand family who care about me. I really thanked God for giving me such wonderfulparents who would throw me a big party for my fifteenth birthday.
Pilgrims by Lauren S., New City, NY
Autumn Leaves by Kara B., Marengo, WI
By Tom M., Philadelphia, PA
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