I went to a Quinceañera last night that was really wonderful.
I have had friends tell me about their own quinceanera but I had never been to one.
It was quite the sight to see and hear the Sons of Norway hall full of running, carefree and joyful children laughing and dancing to loud Mexican music. I felt like I got a big injection of family love. It was very uplifting and inspiring- and that was just the atmosphere!
The food was wonderful cactus salad, spiced rice, pot (whole) beans, baby tortillas and the highlight 500 lbs of Mexican Pulled Pork (Carnitas). Yes that is correct 500 (five zero zero pounds) of pork. Hellooo Tony Bourdain can you hear me?? There was no question that the food would be awesome since the family operates the best Mexican Restaurant in town. True to form is was wonderful.
Unfortunately I couldn't stay for the whole party- I had to get home to cook dinner upon hearing this my friend L. packed me up with food and a hug. This party made me feel the heartbeat of a big family again and made me once again cherish the memories of my parents and the pow wows and family gatherings we had when I was growing up.It started with each of the 'court' in this case male cousins coming out indivually and bowing to
the cheering audience on all sides and taking his place in the floor (x7).
The Ceremony itself included the Last Doll, which is a huge doll which this gorgeous ballgown clad girl held up to all parts of the audience representing leaving childhood behind and being known now as a young lady.
After the doll there was the Changing of the Shoes. Her parents ceremoniously changed her flat shoes to high heels.
Then she began to dace with one for her tux clad 'court' after a few minutes her father and mother cut in and a pattern emerged. Cutting into that dance was then the god parents and cutting into the godparents dance were other family members and so on. When they couple was at the end of the hall another of the boys on the "court' became her partner and the cutting in dance proceeded again until all of the boys dance with her and the parents etc. Then everyone dances.
The Quinceañera ritual has been traced to 500 B.C. from the Aztec culture where a girl at the age of 15 was considered apt for motherhood. They celebrated this coming-of-age with a ceremony, dance, and some words of wisdom from the mother. When the Spanish conquered America, they supposedly adopted this tradition, replacing the Aztec Temple with the Catholic Church.
The Quince años ceremony came from French culture during the 1800s. In Mexico, this century is called Porfiriato, which is comparable to the Victorian era in Anglo-speaking countries. The Mexican president Porfirio Diaz brought this celebration to Mexican culture due to his admiration of French culture; this includes the Vals (European music) and the term Chambelan.
The meaning of the ceremony has changed over the centuries, but the celebration is becoming more popular in the United States than it is in Latin America. Quince años celebrated in the United States reflect the family's economic and social status, and the ceremony has become a means of preserving their culture as Latinos become more Americanized. Quince años are, today, a unique feature of Latino culture in the U.S.
1 lb of Cactus
1 Cup of Queso Fresco (chopped )
2 Tomatoes (chopped)
1 Onion (cut them into slices)
1/2 Cup cilantro (Chopped)
2 Avocados (chopped)
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
Boil into water the cactus for about 10 minutes. Drain it in cold water. In a bowl, mix the cactus with the cheese,
tomatoes, cilantro, avocados, and onions. Add 1/2 cup of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and squeeze 2 limes.
Makes 6 servings.