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Traditions and Baile

Kissing+her+cheeks%2C+sophomore+Yamilet+Montoya%27s+parents+pose+for+a+picture+at+her+quinceanera.+Montoya+celebrated+her+15th+birthday+Aug.+12+in+Little+Rock.+%22I+had+a+church+ceremony+with+my+friends+and+family+who+joined+me%2C%22+Montoya+said.+%22It+was+so+much+fun+and+a+great+experience.%22+Photo%7C+Courtesy+of+Yamilet+Montoya+
Kissing her cheeks, sophomore Yamilet Montoya's parents pose for a picture at her quinceanera. Montoya celebrated her 15th birthday Aug. 12 in Little Rock.

Kissing her cheeks, sophomore Yamilet Montoya's parents pose for a picture at her quinceanera. Montoya celebrated her 15th birthday Aug. 12 in Little Rock. "I had a church ceremony with my friends and family who joined me," Montoya said. "It was so much fun and a great experience." Photo| Courtesy of Yamilet Montoya

Kissing her cheeks, sophomore Yamilet Montoya's parents pose for a picture at her quinceanera. Montoya celebrated her 15th birthday Aug. 12 in Little Rock. "I had a church ceremony with my friends and family who joined me," Montoya said. "It was so much fun and a great experience." Photo| Courtesy of Yamilet Montoya

Madison Waltz, Writer

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Crossing the threshold, sophomore Ashley Davis quickly realized she had arrived at no ordinary birthday party. The booming mariachi band and extravagant decorations surrounded her as she took in the sights of her very first quinceanera. Davis attended sophomore Yamilet Montoya’s quinceanera Aug. 12, a traditional celebration of her 15th birthday.

“When I walked in, it was kind of overwhelming, because there were so many decorations,” Davis said. “There were so many people and the music was blaring. I’ve never experienced anything like it before, but it was fun.”

Design | Joslyn Graves

Quinceaneras are a representation of a girl turning into a woman on her 15th birthday, and are prevalent in  Hispanic culture. Junior Lizeth Hernandez was given the option of either having a quince or getting a car when she turned 15. She chose the celebration.

“I knew that a quinceanera was a [once] in a lifetime opportunity for me,” Hernandez said. “In my mind, I was like, ‘I should probably get a car because it’s less expensive,’ but it’s so worth it.”

A quince takes months to plan. From the rehearsals of the dances to the decorations, there is a lot of hard work and money that goes into the parties. Some families spend more than $15,000. Montoya had her dress custom made in Forth Worth, Texas, and it was “exactly what [she] dreamed of.”

“It made me feel special,” Montoya said. “I was able to tell them what I wanted and got it how I pictured it.”

Many quinceaneras are depicted on movies or TV shows, but they sometimes neglect to show the rich culture and tradition involved. Davis was able to use the experience to immerse herself in Hispanic culture in a way she had not seen beyond a classroom.

“I took Spanish I last year, and I’m in Spanish II this year, [so] I was able to understand some of the music and some of what [the guests] were saying,” Davis said. “It was cool for me to experience something I’m learning about in school.”

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1 Comment

One Response to “Traditions and Baile”

  1. Polly Waltz on September 28th, 2017 7:43 pm

    What a wonderful story!

    [Reply]

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