This beautiful young woman just celebrated her quinceañera, though she won’t be fifteen until the fifteenth!
Gosh, what a celebration! Though this is a remote area, basically cowboy country, girls turning fifteen years old get quite the passage into womanhood.
It began with a mass involving communion and a blessing of Tania by the padre. His sermon had to do with the resurrection and last supper, as far as I could tell. My dearly departed uncle would have had stories about Tania and, in general, becoming a woman. I choked up a bit when at the beginning of the service Tania walked down the aisle accompanied by her parents on either side of her.
The dress. Oh, she told me it was a surprise…and it was. Here she is with her aunt, sister, mother, brother, and paternal grandmother.
After mass we all proceeded to the salon where tables and decorations changed the gray cement into a rainbow of festivity. Stars and colors were the theme.
I hate to think what the cost was for this over-the-top country party. The stage was complete with hired DJs with all the electronics needed to fill the room with loud dancing music, dizzying lights, smoke, and videos projected on three TVs placed on the walls for people to enjoy while seated at the tables. In the midst of the disco clips was a minute of very suggestive gyrating scantily clad pelvises that, in my old fashioned mind, was totally inappropriate for a birthday party attended by some very young guests, and I mean primary grade age.
There were appetizers, then a typical Costa Rican meal, and a mini dessert. The most popular treat was the chocolate fountain oozing Hershey’s chocolate syrup to be drizzled over skewers of fresh fruit.
Back to the formality. Wow. Despite long gaps between activities, this seemed to be practice for a wedding! There was a parade of the attendants who were introduced one couple at a time followed by Tania and her parents. She and her father had the first dance. There was a toast to Tania, with some pretty bad sweet wine, or something. The family sat at the head table with Tania in the middle.
Eventually people began to dance and gosh, can they sashay their hips! Couples always held hands and were close together, typically Latin. The only deviation was a very long song with the teenagers all in a mass jumping while singing along. It looked exhausting, and would have made me want to pee!
After dinner, during which digestive type music was played, Tania spent a looooooong time being photographed with various family members and guests. EVERYONE wanted their photo taken with the guest honor.
The party began at about three-thirty, and we left just before eight o’clock. The final event we saw was a rather amazing Cirque de Soleil type performance by one of Tania’s friends. Before the party there were two girls way up in the rafters of the salon who were tying a very long doubled cloth to the center beam. They then easily descended the cloth and draped it out of the way keeping me in suspense for hours. One of the girls donned her unitard and proceeded to delight us all with her amazing flexibility and daredevils tricks and descents for several minutes. She really was quite good and very comfortable in her venue.
All in all, it was an interesting cultural experience, although very modest compared to many quiceañeras in the Hispanic world and communities. It was so much more than most sweet sixteen parties.