I have been down in this neck of the woods for almost 9 years and unfortunately was never lucky enough to be invited to this special coming of age event of a 15 year old girl in Mexico – until now!
My very good friend Jose Luis (who you would all know as the ‘Mayan Sacrifice’ guy from the bar in San Cristobal de las Casas who only wears the wrestling t-shirts) thought it would be a great event for the group to experience and share with him. Truth be told I think he was very nervous and wanted some friendly, curious faces around! He gave us the stunning invitation that was a ‘message in a bottle’ and then we all started stressing about what we were going to wear. You see Quinceañeras are formal. And we on our Tucan Travel Magical Mexico tour, weren’t carrying our best threads! It was very weird for me to see my very good friend who only ever wears t-shirts emblazoned with wresting paraphernalia, dressed in a suit. He would not however, cut his one skanky braid off though.
I should probably tell you what a Quinceañera is before I go any further. It is a celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday and her transition from childhood to adulthood, typically involving a church ceremony followed by a massive party. Been as where in Mexico, that means a lot of tequila. You can catch some EXTREME Quinceañeras on MTV Channels ‘Quiero Mis Quinces’. The dress is normally ball gown type in the girls favourite color. In this case Perla Estefania’s dress was purple. As was the dress of her mini me (her cousin who was 4) and the muñeca (doll) that is handed over to her Mum later in the evening.
It’s traditional to buy a gift so I went out during the day and purchased some turquoise and silver earrings with a matching necklace, Hello Kitty chocolate and a card. Nothing to flashy, but something memorable. Pretty sure the rest of the group spent that day figuring out their outfits. They all scrubbed up fine by the way.
At 3.45pm we left and headed to their local church where the mass was to be performed. We were ushered into the church and were treated very kindly by the family. There were a few funny looks but once people knew who we were it was open arms. The mass went on for about 45 minutes. It was made up of various speeches and blessing. Jose Luis and his wife sat in the pews as it is tradition for the young lady to be accompanied by her God parents. After the mass, we were part of the photo party and encouraged to take photos. Perla Estefania was happy to take pics with us and she looked absolutely gorgeous in her dress. After the mass, we walked with the family to where the party would be taken place. Well we walked half way then it bucketed down rain, so we were taxied in an Uncles car that was equipped with a huge purple ribbon!
We were ushered into the event hall and sat right next to the cake. We took up two tables and after a couple of tequilas there was no awkwardness. We had our own waitress Gloria for a while who made our drinks and was quick to let us know that there was more tequila and brandy available. Winning. Then the food came, and then more, and then more, just when I thought it was over – the main dish came. Slow cooked pork with veges, rice and salad. Bloody delicious. More food, more drinking and then came the big events.
The birthday girl has her entourage and traditionally they do a couple of dances that are generally professionally choreographed. Perla Estefania’s favourite song at the moment is that Twilight song – 1000 years. So that was the tone for a few of the dances. She was flanked by 4 boys most of the time while doing her dramatic dance. Her wish was to dance with her Dad on this special day. So Jose Luis dressed up as the ‘beast’ and danced with his daughter – at the end of the song much to her surprise he pulled off the mask and revealed himself. It was at that stage I’m sure we all lost it, tears flowing. The pride that flowed out of that mans smile, I’ll never forget. The next moment we all lost it was when Perla was dancing with her cousin in a matching purple dress, the muñeca and her Mother. At the end of that dance, she hands the doll (her innocence) over to her Mother. Maybe it was the tequila, maybe it was the song, maybe it was the specialty of been invited to such a special event – but I don’t think there was a dry eye in our group.
After these emotional parts of the festivities we got stuck into more tequila (Mexicans become very offended if you don’t drink and eat – A LOT) and then came my favourites – the Mariachis!!! I love these fellas. Think Antonio Banderas in Desperado – but there were 7 of them, ok and maybe they weren’t that hot. But the pants, the voices, the passion – well the tears were over. They sang a few songs to Perla, had a couple of drinks and then slipped away. Leaving one of my ladies very disappointed.
We were then hooked up with DJs and a mixture of music. Cumbia, reggaeton, salsa, bachata and more. At one time I looked around and all of our seats were empty. Been the odd ones out at a Quinceañera is never bad, you’re never short of boys to dance with.
The night ended with Perla and her parents equipped with the muñeca walking around to every table, handing out something to take home and ensuring we had a good night.
And just to let you know, tequila doesn’t give you a hangover!