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The dress.
Beyond NY Christian Grotewold

Guatemalan Encounters: Quinceañera

Nathy's birthday cake
Nathy's birthday cake

Even though my birthday celebrations came to an end, that did not mean that the fun had to stop. Recently, my family and I were invited to celebrate the fifteenth birthday of one of our family friends. In Latin countries, Los Quinces is the equivalent of a Sweet Sixteen for Americans. Celebrations may vary from family to family — some decide to give the birthday boy or girl a party or a trip to any place in the world. Nevertheless, if they choose a party or a trip, a gathering of sorts has to be made with family and close friends.

One of the traditions is for the Quinceañera to have a dress made especially for her and have a photo shoot with it. The design that Nathy, the birthday girl, chose was very unique. She had part of her dress be made of the traditional textile of native Guatemalans. It turned out to be an amazing idea.

The dress.
The dress.
The Mass
The Mass

It is tradition to hold a Mass before the Quinces party. At this Mass, we all celebrated the birthday girl and gave thanks to God for her. Only family and close friends attend this ceremony to read at the altar. Once the ceremony was almost over, her family gave her a Quinces ring that was blessed by the priest.

The party afterwards took place at one of the many fancy hotels in the city. The party guests began to pour in, all dressed in their best clothes. When all the guests were seated, it was time for the birthday girl to make her entrance with her father. They both made their way to the dance floor and danced the waltz. Her grandparents and uncles also took their turn dancing with her, and meanwhile all the guests stood around them, making toasts. Once the dance was over, a slideshow was played with many pictures of the birthday girl along with family and friends. Then, the party began.

Nathy and her father dancing the waltz
Nathy and her father dancing the waltz
My family and I
My family and I

The music that is played is, of course, the music that is of the liking of the Quinceañera. Everyone danced the night away, from the young teens to the elder guests. Everyone was having a good time and it definitely was a night to remember.