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Tamales for Cecilia

In Mexican culture there is a celebration of a girl turning into a woman known as a quinceanara – or la fiesta de quince anos. It is the 15th birthday party that rivals any concept of the sweet sixteen.

Of kinds of festivals and reasons to bring family together this at the top of the celebration scale. It starts with a big dress, color coordination, Catholic mass, tieras and lots of photos.

Exiting the church our star of the day.

Cecilia and Uncle Lamar.

Proud Father Jay as Prince Charming holding the young woman's first heels.

Photos and church are followed by Grandmother's tamales and salsa.

Followed by a reception with lots of cake and dancing.

All party bits aside there is subtext to this gathering, at least from my observant participant perspective. It be a gathering for Cici and a celebration of her transition from girl to woman but it is also a celebration of appreciation for what we all have in each other – family and togetherness. Time to have these simple but fulfilling things is granted sometimes by luck and fortune – and in this family's case this day was possible only because a Father was able to return from three tours of duty in a long war. Without his presence as brother, son and Father either the would be aabigail gaping hole carrying her shoes.

Instead we are the fortunate ones with a whole family able to gather to witness a girl have her last piƱata and walk away a woman.


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