Celebrating sweet 15 Latino style

By Ashley Weyler
March 31, 2005

Shawn Rice

On Sat., March 19, the halls of the mansion were filled with Latin flavor and celebration. Latinos Unidos sponsored a Sweet 15, or Quinceanera, for Maria Gambone DeJesus, daughter of Maritza DeJesus, the tutorial coordinator in the A.I.R.E. student services on campus. This special day is to recognize that DeJesus is no longer a child, but now a woman.

Many believe the Quinceanera originated with the Aztecs, a Native American tribe in Mexico, but similar celebrations have been held in cultures from all over the world. A Quinceanera consists of La Quinceanera, who is the birthday girl, her corte de honor, who play a special role in the celebration, and the birthday girl’s parents and godparents.

To kick off the festivities, a religious ceremony takes place. At this time, the Quinceanera is perceived as a woman before God and her guests. Rev. Fr. Michael Bielecki presided over the ceremony. During the ceremony, various passages were recited. A tiara, earrings, necklace, and bible were all presented to Maria as gifts. Then, each member of la corte de honor, all dressed in a beautiful rainbow of gowns, presented Maria with a rose, each thanking her for being a good friend. Immediately following was a candle ceremony, which was fitting since the theme of the Quinceanera was “the light.”

After the ceremony, all the guests, which included Maria’s family and friends, Latinos Unitos, and Cabrini Students, were invited into the dining room, where traditional Hispanic food; such as: Empanadas Calenas, a corn shel filled with beef and potato, and Ropa Vieja, beef in a red creole sauce with pepper and onions was served

During dinner, Maria was presented with her last doll or la Ultima Muneca, which symbolizes the perfection of the event and Quinceanera.

Following dinner, Maria sat in the middle of the dance floor in a specially designated chair. Her father then replaced her flat shoes with high heels. This is symbolic because it shows the transformation from girl to woman.

Maria and her father also danced the Vals or the waltz. Cutting in half way through the song, was her Ch

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Ashley Weyler

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