The allure of a quinceañera for teenage girls is the stuff, the attention and the feeling of collective adoration from their family and friends. Is it an outdated tradition with misogynistic roots? Yes, completely. Will it ever go out of style? No, I don’t think so.
The quinceañera is not just a party or a debut into society for a young lady of marriageable age. It is an industry with lots of stakeholders comparable to the wedding industry. Because let’s be honest here, a quinceañera and a wedding have way more similarities than differences. And just like weddings, quinceañeras are here to stay.
People love a party and a quinceañera is a party on crack. There is church, a procession, pageantry, synchronized dancing, and of course, glamour and drama. It is the stuff that literally movies, documentaries, and TV shows are made of and have been made of.
For this week’s podcast we interview Jesse Garcia, the star of Quinceañera, the movie from 2006. This movie was released when I was working as a choreographer for a company called Sueños de Quinceañera. I did not have a quince. I had never even been to a quince before starting to choreograph for them. This job, this movie, and all of the subsequent shows like My Super Sweet Sixteen on MTV, were my indoctrination into an a segment of Latino teen life that I had not been aware of.
We talked with Jesse a little bit about quinceañeras, but mostly we talked about the movie. Enjoy!
Did you have a quinceañera?
Will your daughter(s) have one?
Would love to hear from you!
I am not religious. I believe that all religions are true. If a religion brings you happiness, comfort, community and a set of guidelines that align with your lifestyle or helps you to live your best life, then awesome. Practice and preach!
I am spiritual. And by that I mean that I believe in the soul and grew up reading Deepak Chopra, Gary Zukov and lately Eckhart Tolle.
Culturally I am Catholic. I didn’t grow up in the church. I did not go through all of the rites. I wasn’t even baptized till I was 7 and then when I was, it happened twice. I’m pretty sure my mother suffered a moment of guilt and thought to herself, “Oh what the hell?”
My parents couldn’t decide who the god parents should be so they chose two sets. A set my mother liked and a set my father liked. Each set of god parents did not know about each other. My parents lied in the church during a holy rite and then asked me to lie about it for my entire life. I’m pretty sure this is all a sin and that my two baptisms are nullified because of it.
I have not baptized my kids. I know what scripture says about the unbaptized going to purgatory but I cannot believe it.
I say I’m culturally Catholic because I know my prayers in English and in Spanish, thank you, anytime I’ve been scared I pray, and the mention of God happens every day. Si Dios quiere. Que Dios te bendiga. Ay Dios mío! I mean if we are not supposed to take God’s name in vain, in Spanish we are screwed because it’s built into how we express ourselves.
My kids are growing up without a formal religion. Without the guilt and hang ups of being a Catholic. Recognizing and respecting all the faiths that we encounter. And hopefully someday, they will read all of the books so that they know all of the stories. As literature the holy books of the world are pretty cool.
My big generalization is that Latin mamas, then and now, have felt a great cultural pressure to participate in some kind of religious practice.
Tell me, do you feel or have you felt pressured and guilt tripped into practicing a religion?
Do you see your religious practice as a way to teach your Latin culture and less really about the actual religion? How are you teaching your kids about religion? Are you, or will you give your kids the autonomy to choose?
Would love to hear from you!
Wendy writes blog posts that turn into conversations for the Mamá Cita Podcast.