I still remember my sweet fifteen/quinceanera as if it was yesterday. It was the best experience ever; being the center of attention like a shinning star. My pink gigantic dress with rhinestone shinning made me look like a doll. Cameras everywhere bright lights left and right. It was amazing. As I walked in, the crowd applauded and the entrance waltz was at full volume as I walked into the reception hall. The purpose is to recognize my journey form childhood to maturity.It’s the beginning of womanhood in Latin cultures around the world.
I felt myself blushing and felt my heart rate going so fast it was scary. I also felt a bit shy knowing that everyone was looking at me. The preparations for this coming out party are elaborate traditions of dancing, food, tiaras, dresses, favors. Some of the traditions are sweet goodbyes to the little girl…a last doll a dance with daddy. And some celebrate the young women that the child has become. Made-up with elegant make up as it’s traditionally the first time I can wear make and also to wax my eyebrows.As my dad changed my shoes from ballerina flats to high heels everyone watched as my eyes got watery from the excitement and happiness.
Tears ran down my cheeks as my mom put the tiara on me. I then danced the waltz with my dad, older brother, and two of my closest uncles. My maids and their dancing partners performed several choreographed dances. The first dance was a waltz where all the maids and caballeros-gentleman made a circle surrounding me; so that my partner would give me three turns. The traditional song of sweet fifteen fiestas-parties was El Val’s de las mariposas-the valley of the butterflies.We also danced a merengue- a style of Dominican music and dance, since that’s where my parents are from.
Also bachata,-originated from the Dominican Republic is a type of music, and dance my favorite. The damas-maids had light pink dresses with white shoes their hair up and styled. The guys had white suits with pink vests and white shoes. My birthday was on February 25th. It was on a Friday, but was celebrated on Saturday February 26th. Due to the Dominican Independence Day that is on February 27th we performed a folkloric dance in honor to my parents roots.We danced Perico rripiao- merengue tipico- is the oldest style of meringue still performed today.
Our clothing was big skirts with the colors of the flag and tops that showed our shoulders and our belly. They guys rolled up their white pants and their sleeves and wore hats, giving them a campo-countryside image. It was a surprise dance because it had started out with the Dominican national hymn. We all then had a toast for another year of living to me and then the best part eating! Pictures took up a lot of my time but it was worth it.
There were about thirty tables with ten seats each.Good thing I didn’t take pictures with all of them. That would have been insane! In this ceremony I delivered fifteen candles to people who I considered the most influential in my development, during my fifteen years. It was accompanied by a speech given by me, dedicated to each of the people that were given a candle. This ceremony is also known as the tree of life. The 15 candles symbolize the 15 years I have “left behind”. Each of the candles symbolizes a special memory, a moment shared with any person who is invited to join the ritual.
A sweet fifteen/quincenero is worth the hassle. It leaves you with great memories; there will always be pictures videos and the people in it for me to remember. It does take a lot of time, effort and money to plan this event but it’s definitely nothing compared to the outcome of it all. In other words there was nothing to loose. Being the center of attention the whole night is like being a celebrity I suppose but just for a few hours. It’s a feeling that is just difficult to express in words but it’s just amazing.