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A quinceañera is a tradition in the Mexican culture to celebrate a girl turning into a woman. I didn't see it that way when I was that age, and now 15 years later, I regret never having a quinceañera celebration and experiencing that cultural rite of passage. I thought it was a waste of money and wanted other things instead. I failed to see the true value of the celebration. Now that I'm a mother, I want my daughter to have the quinceañera celebration I never did.
I still remember telling my parents I didn't like mariachi, I didn't want to wear a dress, and I definitely didn't want a 15th birthday celebration — at least not the kind they wanted. I wanted a car and as the oldest and only daughter, I felt at the time that I would rather count the days to independence than to "have a dumb party." I cringe reliving the memories of my rebellious teen years and thinking how it must have crushed my parents that I was rejecting the culture they worked so hard to instill in me. I share all of this so that my daughter sees the worth in having a quince celebration.
But still, the decision will be my daughter's. While I may still live in regret, I won't hold it against her if she chooses not to want to celebrate her quinceañera. I just hope she says yes!
These are the five reasons to have a quinceañera celebration that I'll share with my daughter when the time is right.
1. It's an opportunity to celebrate growing up.
When else will you have the chance to hand off a doll to symbolize growing up and becoming a woman in this world? It sounds old-fashioned, but there is some truth to no longer being a child and accepting your place as a young adult in the world.
2. Make memories with friends and family.
All eyes will be on you and the fun you will have at your celebration will be priceless. Take photos, love on family who may rarely come together, and share these moments with friends. If all your friends are having Sweet 16 parties, all the more reason to enjoy having a quinceañera celebration because you'll be the kick-off to an awesome year of celebrations. Nobody's party will compare to yours!
3. Dance with your father.
The dance with your father will mean more to him at that moment and so much more to you later. It's your father's chance to show off his daughter and be so proud of the young woman she is becoming. It's probably as emotional as your dad will ever get aside from your wedding day.
4. It's tradition, and as you grow older, traditions become more important.
It's one more cultural tradition that connects you to your roots. It's a way to not only learn more about your Mexican side, but also something to pass down to your kids. You may not get all the reasons why it's important at age 15, but you'll appreciate your parents helping you keep the tradition when you're older and have your own brood.
5. You get to wear a beautiful dress. Any reason to wear a beautiful, big princess dress is a good enough reason for a party. Sometimes in life we aren't given another reason to rock a big, puffy dress. Sure, there will be the prom and your wedding day, but those occasions just aren't the same. This can be a custom-made dress just for you, and while it may be a materialistic thing, it means much more as a symbol. It's the memories you'll look back on from when you picked your dress, how much you danced in it and how beautiful you looked in it.