She’s a Lady Now

Birthday, Quinceanera, Leon, Nicaragua, expat

My First Quinceañera

I watched as family was prepping for a birthday party this evening.  What I didn’t know was that tonight I would find myself in the midst of my first Quinceañera. A Quinceañera is a Hispanic tradition of celebrating a girl’s 15th birthday. It’s a rite of passage. A coming of age. After today, she is no longer considered a girl, but a young woman.

It is celebrated in Central and South America, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and of course, Mexico. I wasn’t even invited. The party reminded me of a wedding. La Quinceañera wore a fancy gown and tiara. There were members of Her court seated at a head table. The food was abundant. The main cake and its minions littered a whole banquet table. Everything was decorated in blue and white. The swirling lights and covert drinking made me feel like I had been transported back to my first homecoming dance.

Birthday, Quinceanera, Leon, Nicaragua, expat

I snapped a few early photos. Like I said earlier, I wasn’t invited. I was renting a room in hotel for two months, I had recently moved out of the apartment I had been renting. They offered me kitchen privileges and air-conditioning which is BIG advantage in León, and it was much closer to the house that was being remodeled for the same price of my old apartment. There were rarely other guests staying here. But tonight, the open air hotel is the center of a big fiesta. At least my room is on the upper floor.

Birthday, Quinceanera, Leon, Nicaragua, expat

I’ve heard of Quinceaneras before, but thought it was just a party. I’ve never been to what equates to a big birthday party on steroids like this. These people know how to party. The DJ is blasting the music so loud that the entire second floor is rattling. I guess I’ll be up late tonight. Not that I could fall asleep with all the fireworks popping out on the street. I’m not talking about sparklers and firecrackers, I’m talking about mortars.

Birthday, Quinceanera, Leon, Nicaragua, expat

The whole situation is little awkward. I’m sitting outside of my room writing this post (unexpectedly) and drinking Toña in a pair of shorts, sandals, and a tee shirt. Meanwhile the guests are dressed to the nines and they keep looking at me as  I navigate my way through the crowd as I navigate my way to the kitchen.

I met Ana Rita, La Quinceanera, on my way to the kitchen. Her mother invited me to join them but I wasn’t really dressed for the occasion. I politely declined to join the party but did accept a piece of cake. I wished Ana Rita a Feliz Cumpleaños and headed back upstairs to eat my cake.

Viva León, Jodido!

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