A Beautiful Quinceanera- part 1- preparations

This may look like a simple little birthday party, but  it was a celebration of so much more than another year passing.

A Quinceanera is a special birthday party that a girl here has when she turns 15.  It varies but it is sort of a right of passage ceremony, a coming of age.  I suspect that every little Mexican girl dreams of her Quinceanera gown and the party she may someday have.  In reality most little girls in this area don't have one.   In fact many have never had a birthday party of any sort.  I don't know if it's cultural (among the Triqui people) or because of the poverty but it's not uncommon for children to have no idea what month or even what year they were born.   Minerva (our girl from Santa Fe) had no idea how old she was when we met her two years ago.   After digging up a birth certificate we discovered she was 13at the time...which now makes her 15.   She has never had a birthday party.   She has never had her own cake.  She has never owned a fancy dress...or quite possibly any new article of clothing. 

One of the reasons I wanted to come down this month was I had a dream of creating a Quinceanera for her.  The problem being that I know nothing of the tradition and had only seen part of one done at church for someone I didn't know.   Another problem was that I'm not a party planner.  Not my skill set.  I do it for my children out of love, not because I enjoy it...and they are usually small and simple parties.  I knew to pull it off would take some help from talented friends and a whole lot of winging it.  I was certainly in way over my head.

{my little helper, who happens to share my name}

Once we found a place to hold the party, we set a time and date.  Then we told Minerva and her family what our plans were.  I wish I had a picture of that girls smile.

  A few days before the party Minerva, Aili and I spent the day shopping.  I should have taken my camera with me because it was quite an experience.   We spent most of the day looking in different little stores.  She tried on so many dresses and even more shoes.  It was tricky to find things to fit a 15 year old girl who has a woman's curves yet is shorter than my 10 year old.  She has itty bitty feet as well.  We searched every store and even drove 20 miles to the next town to find shoes that didn't look like little girl school shoes in a size 2.  We found a perfect little pair of black heels and an absolutely perfect stunning red dress.   We also had fun shopping for accessories, under garments, and make up.  It was a treat to spend that time with her.  

I hired a Mexican friend of mine to do the cooking (since my quality of Mexican food would be appalling).  When asked what she wanted to eat at her party, Minerva didn't even hesitate.   Mole (pronounced molay) con pollo it is.   

We scrounged up decorations, balloons, plates, table clothes, glitter, spray paint and created something lovely.  I am actually quite proud of myself.   For someone who has absolutely no talent in the area of crafts I think it turned out quite pretty...and I didn't even glue my fingers together. 

After spending the morning decorating we brought home our three girls so they could have some spa time before the party.  Carla's princess spa featured hot showers with indoor plumbing, special shampoo, new outfits and jewelry.  

Louisa and Carmela all squeaky clean.

I could snuggle these two all day.

Later in the afternoon "Tio" (my hubster) borrowed a van to go pick up all our guests from Santa Fe.  We expected Minerva's immediate family of 7 plus maybe 10 more relatives to join us.  Once word got out that we were serving Mole ....well...we had a few more than that.
You'll have to check back in when I write part 2. 

It's party time!

p.s  A special thanks to all our family and friends who donated to the "Icecream for Orphans" fund.  The Burlando kids compassion project paid for most of the party as well as  the dress.  If it weren't for your generosity, we wouldn't have had the money to give this girl her own little fairy tale evening.  


natasha salaash said...

can't wait to read the rest!!!! I never comment, but I love your blog!

Marcy said...

I have got tingles!