Birthday celebration exemplifies cultural traditions
At her quinceañera, Dec. 4, freshman Viviana Hinojosa listens as a guest, not pictured, gives the introductory message. Fellow freshman Jieun Seo, one of 14 maidens, stands at Viviana's right.
Many teenagers wait for their 16th birthday to have an extravagant party. However, in accordance with her Mexican heritage, freshman Viviana Hinojosa celebrated her 15th birthday with a traditional quinceañera, Dec. 4.
A quinceañera is the Spanish tradition of celebrating a girl's 15th birthday. It differs from any other coming-of-age celebration in that the purpose of the party is to show the transition from childhood to womanhood.
"Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to have a quinceañera," Hinojosa said. "I saw my cousin and sister [Bianca, '12] have one, and when it was finally my turn, I was thrilled."
The celebration took place at College Church of Christ, and the ceremony began with 14 female friends and family members walking down the aisle wearing matching blue dresses. After the girls took the stage, Hinojosa appeared in her customary white gown escorted by freshman Robbie Hill.
"I felt honored when she first asked me," Hill said. "I thought it was very nice of her to ask me instead of a family member."
At the ceremony, close friends and family members gave Hinojosa words of encouragement. Her mother, Maria, spoke about Viviana's childhood memories. Despite the work involved in planning such an event, Maria desired for her daughter to take part in the tradition.
"Quinceañeras cost a lot of money and take months of planning, but it is a tradition, and I really wanted my daughter to have a special day," Maria said. "It was a proud moment to see how beautiful and happy she was. She is an amazing young lady."
"Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to have a quinceañera. I saw my cousin and sister have one, and when it was finally my turn, I was thrilled." --Viviana Hinojosa, '14
While some girls have a large quinceañera, Viviana decided to have a small celebration consisting of her close friends and family members. According to fellow freshman Hannah Avila, the overall presentation of the event encouraged her to have her own quinceañera in the future.
"I thought that Viviana looked absolutely gorgeous at her quinceañera," Avila said. "The decorations were great, and going to Viviana's quinceañera encouraged me to have one of my own next year when I turn 15."
In addition, freshman Rayna Endicott said she enjoyed experiencing the Hispanic culture's traditions.
To start the celebration, freshman Robbie Hill escorts Viviana up the aisle. A procession of 14 female friends followed the pair.
"I really enjoyed going to Viviana's party because I got to learn about different cultures," Endicott said. "I also liked how she had 14 other girls to be a part of the ceremony with her."
Freshman Mikayla Messer, who was a part of the procession, recognized the difference between this cultural celebration and a typical sweet sixteen.
"I thought it was very different from any other birthdays I have ever been to," Messer said. "It almost reminded me of a miniature wedding."
At the end of the night, Viviana says the moment was bittersweet.
"I felt great and relieved that it went well, but also kind of sad because it was over after so many months of planning and waiting for it," Viviana said.
Bianca, who had her quinceañera nearly two years ago, reflects on the excitement of planning the special occasion that they now have both experienced.
"I was happy that my sister had a quinceañera," Bianca said. "But it was kind of wild at the same time, because it seems like yesterday when I had mine, and I remember being nervous. I am happy that her quinceañera turned out so well."
For more information on cultural celebrations, read the Feb. 11, 2009 article, Quinceañera celebrates womanhood.