Sunday morning I put on a nice dress and joined Ibis's boss and her family for a family quinciñera - a huge party to celebrate a girl's fifteenth birthday. This particular girl was a cousin of the boss's children and when I say she looked like a princess, I'm not exaggerating.
She wore a huge poofy floor-length dress, complete with a corset and glittering rhinestones. It was very much like a wedding gown except it was pepto bismol pink. She wore a tiara and looked beautiful. Tradition states that fifteen young men join her at the party and one of them will eventually be her husband. She only had five, one of whom wore a different color tie (I think he is her boyfriend) and they did several coordinated dances with lifts and everything.
The event was held in an outdoor pavilion at a restaurant that has gardens, a playground, and even a pool. When we arrived I was surprised to see chairs set up before an altar beneath some palm trees - again, like a wedding - as well as the tables and DJ beneath the covered area. There were flowers everywhere and pink clothes draping everything. (This is a fifteen year old girl we're talking about.)
When she arrived, they started with the ceremony at the altar. The boyfriend walked her down the aisle and a minister gave a ten-minute speech. Then they gave her gifts - a ring, a bible, and a fancy pillow for her to kneel upon for her blessing. The family is evangelical so I think there were more religious aspects than normal, but it was still nice. We all rose and clapped as she walked up the aisle to the pavilion.
Next a teacher of the girl's gave a passionate speech that I thought was about saving herself and being true to the girl her parents raised, but I found out afterwards it was actually a political speech. This woman belonged in a telenovela - she was punching her fist in the air and nearly screaming at us. Yes, I had to try hard not to laugh, but I wasn't the only one. When she finished I asked Ibis's boss if there was always that much shouting and she burst out laughing. Apparently not.
The food arrived in between these things. First a fish casserole served on tostadas, then a very good meal of carne asada, pasta, and roasted vegetables. Because the family is evangelical there was no alcohol (I guess there often is for the adults) so I had more than my share of orange soda.
There were more dances and a presentation where she opened a few gifts. A group of girls from their church played quite a few songs while people were eating. They were pretty good - I especially enjoyed the girl on the drums - and played mostly religious music. The guests were not invited to dance - another difference I'm told - but I was wearing tight shoes so that was fine with me.
I really enjoyed myself. It was fun seeing a new tradition and meeting new people who actually treated like a normal person. Typically Mexicans clam up around me and act uncomfortable, even though I understand what they're saying. But the people we sat with were friendly and acted like themselves, despite the gringa at the table.
All in all, a good day. :)