Leave it to my friend, Amada, to throw a Quinceñera for her first published book, “My Very Own Room/Mi PropioCuarito.” She’s creative and fun like that.
The book, which teaches a valuable lesson about the strength of family and the importance of dreams, turns 15 in April 2015. Five children’s books later, Amada is still writing and teaching.
Fifteen years. That’s a lengthy publishing career and double long when you consider the years it takes before you’re published.
One must love to write more than anything to persevere as a writer, to endure sore wrists, critiques, missed events, questioning ourselves, and a mound of rejection letters.
That’s why one must celebrate and what better way for a Latina to commemorate 15 years of publication, why a Quinceñera, of course.
There is a myth the traditions of quinceañeras originated in ancient Aztec culture when girls around the age of 15 were placed in the hands of elder women to teach them the duties of a wife.
On the day of marriage, this elder would carry the girl on her back while others lit the path, to the groom’s house. The bride wore a decorated cape, and when the bride and groom united, the two capes were tied together to signify the marriage bond.
Celebrations today vary significantly across Latin American countries, but the theme is the same. La Quinceañera recognizes a girl’s journey from childhood to maturity with a ceremony that highlights God, family, friends, music, a waltz, food, and dance.
En otra palabras, it’s a big ole’ party after the serious ceremony.
It is traditional for the Quinceañera to choose special friends to participate in what is called the Court of Honor. The females are called Damas. I’m excited to be in Amada’s court, especially since I never had a Quince myself. Hopefully, she’s not expecting us to learn the waltz. Knowing her, it would be a Tango, as she loves the dance.
The fun has already begun, with one of the damas posting her Quince dress online. A comment said it reminded her of the Portuguese Man O’War.
I don’t know about that choice, I’m partial to traditional gowns myself. But whatever we wear, I’m just happy to be at the Quince, celebrating friendship, family, and writing. And, of course, the big ole’ party.