The mark between Childhood and Young Womanhood takes place in much of Latin America on a girl’s 15th Birthday.  Sometimes as elaborate as weddings, the Quincinera may involve a Thanksgiving (religious) mass followed by a reception with celebratory events such as formal entry, formal dances, toasts and a meal.  There may or may not be traditional customs such as Change of Shoes, or the “Ceremony of the Last Doll” where the quincinera is offered but rejects a doll (usually dressed the same as the Quincinera) to symbolize her leaving childhood for womanhood.

Very festive, we snuck into the reception hall with permission for a quick peek.  Stunned at the transformation of the hall, the bar has certainly been raised for our community’s next celebration!!  The dance floor/stage was pretty spectacular!!

Earlier in the week the Quincinera had been on the grounds to have her photo shoot, of which one of the pictures you can see on the left.  She looked beautiful in her turquoise full-length dress, no doubt.

Collage 15yo

A Hummer limo drove up with panels of bright lights flashing, teens singing out the sunroof.  Fireworks crackled across the sky.  Both live and canned music played until about 4am, vibrations coursing through our bodies and by-passing earplugs.

Guessing it was about 3 or 4am, Laars came to my bed to complain that he had to scare some ‘kids’ out of one of our patios and “they stole what you call a couch”.  I knew he felt scared/uncertain so I took my headlamp to check it out, and sure enough the mattress was taken off of the futon frame and we were left with (probably) a rum ‘n coke on the rocks.  But nothing else looked amiss (except some spilled drinks?).

We stepped over spilled drinks and broken glass (that Victor was already in progress of cleaning up) to sit down where we usually do to have our morning coffee overlooking Chapala.  Before heading back to our suite I cleaned up the broken glass under the big tree where our children play….often in bare feet.  Always sad to see the broken tables and chairs after parties like this.  Like people just don’t care.

Today the celebration has continued though informally.  With shared food {possibly a recalentado (re-warming)} they had out on the large open field, they have also played some music (though not nearly as loud as last night), played some field games and used the pool.  We may be in for another l-o-n-g night tonight…..time will tell.

We get windows into differing cultures right here literally in our very living room!  There may be things we totally don’t understand about another culture (ie, borrowing the futon mattress; all the yelling they do to one another across streets, fields, whatever rather than going to somebody and talking face-to-face; roaring right outside somebody’s suite or tent at 4 am) but we have much to admire.  They are so much more family oriented than up north.  Big siblings and parents often play ball or swim with them, and men carry littles around a lot.  Parties always seem to be multi-generational and children included in all the festivities.  We witnessed much the same in Belize years ago.

As annoying as it is sometimes, it is still fascinating, educational and entertaining to observe the differences.