Posted by: Jack | June 4, 2007


Many months ago Anna and I saw the movie Quinceanera. In case you aren’t familiar, the word quinceanera translates approximately to “15th year” and as you can probably guess is a celebration of a 15th birthday. Among many Spanish-speaking cultures, this occasion is set above other birthdays for a teenage girl as it marks her transition into womanhood.

Just a few weeks ago Anna received an invitation from a co-worker, inviting us to attend her daughter’s quinceanera celebration. Despite having never met the birthday girl, we decided we couldn’t pass on our first chance to experience such an event. As is the case with many Mexican’s, this girl is a Roman Catholic and therefore the celebration began with a Thanksgiving Mass at a church in Shelton. This was actually only the second time in my life that I had attended any Catholic service and just like the first time, I was a bit frightened. It was a very small church and instead of a grand organ, they had a small keyboard and the pianist performed a number of solos where she played and sang. While her grasp on both the keyboard and her voice were certainly skilled, she truly lacked a singer’s voice and I have to say these solos were just terrible as a result. To make matters worse, some of these songs were about the worst lyrical compilations I had ever heard. Generally a writer starts with a rhythm and assembles their lyrics to fit but a couple of these songs sounded as if someone had taken some typical churchy sounds and just started reading scripture on top of them. Moving right along…

After the service, Anna and I enjoyed our first-ever frozen banana (quite delicious) while making a quick tour of Shelton’s tiny farmer’s market. Proceeding to the reception, we were promptly served lots of free Mexican beers, chips and salsa. This in itself made the whole experience worth the short drive to Shelton. However, while enjoying these treats for nearly two hours, there was literally no celebrating going on. Basically everyone just hung around while the sound and lighting crew setup and tested their equipment.

Just as I was growing a little too bored and losing my tolerance for the ever increasing temperature, dinner was served. Although the meal consisted of a very simple and traditional chicken fajita, rice and beans combo, I can honestly say it was far tastier than any banquet meal I’ve served (and therefore eaten) in my years working in banquets. I may have to learn how to make chicken like that because I’m pretty sure I could eat that meal three or four times a week.

After dinner we stuck around for awhile to watch the father-daughter dance and a few other premised dances. But growing exceedingly tired from the heat, we soon departed for home. In retrospect, the events (and probably expenses) of the day paralleled those of a wedding except that no one got married. I imagine if I was a Spanish speaking Catholic, I would pray daily that I may only produce male offspring.


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