The Quinceanera

For the first time in my life I attended a quinceanera. How this celebration escaped my Latina generation is a mystery. Both of my maternal grandparents were from Mexico, from Aguascalientes and Zacatecas; but when they crossed over to the United States they may have left that beautiful custom back in the old country. My father was born in Arizona and my mother was a native Californian, so they, too, seemed to have left this custom behind. I called my oldest cousin Connie, who confirmed that, indeed we had no quinceaneras in our generation or for this current generation as well. When our daughter Sonja was 15-years-old, I was still steeped in finding my new religion. I had made my exit from the Catholic church for a long season, so Sonja never got to experience this religious transition.

We traveled to Adelanto, a city in the high desert, for this blessed event. One street off the main exit from Highway 395 sits the small, quaint Christ the Good Shepherd Catholic Church. We arrived five minutes late due to a charging situation with our all-electric car, which sometimes proves to be a great inconvenience. Valerie, the young celebrant, sat facing the altar. Her beautiful, full gown connected the aisles of the modest church. Valerie’s dress was covered with flashing white lights, and an array of delicate lavender butterflies caught the light to enhance her dress.

Mexican Culture

The tradition of the quinceanera goes back to the Aztec and Mayan cultures. The Catholic Mass and the elegance of the waltz and ball gown was introduced by the Spaniards, but the original tradition belongs to the indigenous people of Mexico. The Mayas and Aztecs believed that once a young girl turned a certain age, they were set apart from the boys to prepare them to become young ladies.

During the Mass Valerie recited a prayer of thanksgiving:

Quinceañera Prayer of Dedication

I offer you, O Lord, my youth. Guide my steps, my actions, my thoughts. Grant me the grace to understand our New Commandment to love one another, and may Your grace not be wasted in me. I ask this through your Son, Jesus Christ, Our Savior and Redeemer.

Oh Mary, my Mother, please present my offering and my life to the Lord; be my model of a courageous woman of Faith, be my strength and my guide. You have the power to change hearts; take my heart then, and make me a worthy daughter of yours. Amen.


Me, Valerie, and Mike


Since this was my first quinceanera I wore a navy blue linen dress with silver shoes, but I felt a little underdressed.  Mike was casual with his Tommy Bahama button down shirt and a dressy pair of light-colored jeans. It seemed that most of the other guests were better suited than us.

Valerie with her parents Elizabeth and Tony
The family: Amy, Victoria, Tony, Valerie, Elizabeth and Alexa


Valerie and her court
Tony’s brother and his family, one girl and six boys

The Parents

Whatever the cost, this beautiful, blessed coming of age event for their daughter Valerie was well spent. She will forever hold this day in her heart.  Her parents, Tony and Elizabeth, will have to repeat this same celebration next year. They have four daughters and the next one is 14-year-old Amy. So next year they will have this experience to repeat this all over again. These events are not for the faint of heart; it’s going to cost a sizable amount of money. Once you factor in all the expenses it could reach from $5,000 to $50,000. Globally this is a 49 billion dollar industry.

The Rite of Passage

We all need to spiritually prepare our children for what lies ahead. We can help by making sure they are properly educated; but, more importantly, if you do not introduce God into their lives at a young age you may be in for a great disappointment. We need to teach children about God because this is what sustains their minds. Knowing that there is a God Who watches over you is of great comfort when parents are not around. Knowing that they can call on God for any of their needs brings the confidence that establishes trust in the Lord. As I watched and interacted with some of the families, I was impressed with how well they are connected with one another, I also loved that all the mothers I spoke with were stay-at-home moms, all living within their means. That’s how I live too!

19 By standing firm you will gain life.

To be a young lady today takes courage; to stand up for your beliefs develops character. No man can change the mind of a young person who is engrafted in God. This is another reason why we must teach our children to be strong in their beliefs. We have so many crazy ideologies to confuse our youth, but if you believe in God you realize that nothing else matters because the truth of God will always prevail. Nothing can supersede the truth of the Word of God.

Lord, I pray for Valerie and all young ladies entering into this rite of passage. Lord, guide parents to do right by them and give them a fighting chance in this world by introducing God into their lives. I thank You for Tony and Elizabeth and for the work they are doing in raising their girls with You in their hearts. Lord, I pray for all  youth, that they seek and find You. Give them hope and appear to them in dreams and visions. Move in the lives of all our youth. Lord, without You we are lost. May You, be the Father of all the fatherless and hold these babies in Your loving arms. Amen.


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