a birthday present for Little Fawn

I kinda glazed over the fact that Little Fawn had a birthday a couple of days ago. And it was a big one… at least in Mexican culture it’s a big one: 15.

My baby girl turned 15 on Tuesday. God, I can remember so vividly the day she was born. I’ll have to write about that one later. I had talked with a few friends and even my mom about throwing a big party for her… a quinceanera. But it just wasn’t in the cards.

It’s a pretty big deal when a Mexican girl turns 15. Not having really been raised as a Mexican I couldn’t tell you what that is but apparently it involves dressing the birthday girl in the gaudiest, trashiest dress one can find. Google quinceanera and you’ll see more examples.

Quinceanera Dresses

There is a church service where she is made to feel like a sacrificial lamb.

I’ve attended a couple of these and been the photographer for a few quinceaneras. I’ve gotta say, even being Mexican, the whole ritual seems a little odd. They dress up this little girl, as if for a wedding and then offer her up to their god. Seems a little old testament to me. Either that or Aztec. All they’re missing is a sharp knife and her still beating heart.


Oh and at this party, I guess all her guy friends show looking like pimps. Because of course that’s what every virtuous, virgin-ish 15 year old girl has is a court of pimps at her every whim.


For Little Fawn I chose something a little more subdued. I took her to dinner at a little fast food place that serves spaghetti and other pasta dishes and I gave her a tiarra.

She played along and actually tried on the tiarra that came with the mug but I cut her head off trying to take the picture. She wouldn’t let me take any more of her with it on her head for fear of me sending it to our church discussion board. Damn teenagers… much smarter now than when I was a kid.

if the tiara fits

I love you Little Fawn. Happy birthday.

13 responses to “a birthday present for Little Fawn

  1. Happy b.day to your girl!

  2. Oh, this is so funny. Dress like pimps. It’s SO true, having been to a quincenera recently. And so much money that goes into it. But you know what, I love that some cultures make a big deal about transitions, and this is one of life’s biggest for a girl…er…woman.

    p.s., the pimp pic is precious.

  3. Hey YB! Glad you made it back from Vietnam ok. So yeah, isn’t it amazing how much goes into this. A co-worker of mine spent thousands of dollars doing one for her daughter and that didn’t include the family members who pitched in to the shin-dig.

    It’s great that cultures have significant milestones or rights-of-passage that make everyone a part of the culture. You know… by going through a bar mitzvah, or vision quest or in this case quinceanera. But I think like some things in our country (i’m thinking specifically of weddings) it’s gotten a little out of hand and commercialized. I think some of it is a little over the top.

    Glad you’re back from sabbatical. : )

  4. Loved your sentiment regarding your daughter! These transitional ceremonies are interesting. I had attended a family member’s Bat Mitzvah three years ago, and now there is apparently something called a “Confirmation” at age 16. I thought Confirmation was a Christian thingy, you know? The Bar/Bat Mitzvah is still the main thing though.

  5. lolol

    this post was hilarious, your explanation might not have added much enlightenment to those wondering about Mexican culture, but it sure was entertaining.

    Happy Birthday, Little Fawn

  6. i have my quince december 5th,hope it doesnt rain

  7. Why are people so….ignorant!!!! Read about what a quincenera is all abou before putting it down. It’s like any other sweet 16 party, i think that’s what americans call it. A quinceanera is almost exactly like a wedding BUT without the groom.. She’s coming out of being a lil girl and introduced to womanhood. And if the parents have the money then they are going to do there best to have the best quinceanera ever.. So read up on it…

  8. im sorry, i am about to turn 15, and i dont know how more rude some one could be. i think that you should be quiet and RESPECT other people’s cultures. IF YOU DONT LIKE IT DONT SAY ANYTHING AND KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!!!

  9. its not just mexicans who have a quinceanera its the whole hispanic comunity

  10. I honestly loved my quinceanera and i truely think this is the rudest blog on it there is no need to be rude when you dont even know much about it!

  11. (Erin, Emmie, Am, YB, Mused…please forgive my rant that’s coming. I gotta get this off my chest)

    To 1986, Quinceanera , Victoria, and Maria,

    You’ve said this post is rude, that I am ignorant, that “if I don’t like it don’t say anything…” Apparently I’m disrespecting other people’s cultures even though I happen to BE a Mexican. You’ve said I don’t know much about it and that I should read up on it.

    Well I did and this is what I found out.
    From Wikipedia it says this about its origins:
    I was surprised that this source says the tradition comes from FRANCE! According to this site it isn’t even our own tradition! From other websites they claim it comes from Aztec traditions.

    Regardless of where it comes from, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that this event is a rite of passage… a time to honor shifting from being a girl to a young woman. It is a day to recognize an important step in life. One doesn’t have to read up on anything to understand this is what it’s about and that celebrations like this are very important in any culture. It is these things that bind a culture together.

    So with that in mind, I think it is important that WE Mexicans not perpetuate and reinforce a stereotype that everyone else in the rest of the U.S. has of Mexicans.

    That stereotype being that we are stupid, that we are trash, that we just fell off a pinto bean wagon or swam across the river. That we are lazy. That we’re a drain on the U.S. economic system. AND that we are without an ounce of knowledge of how to throw a party that is linked to something this important that has dignity, class and honor instead of organizing some cheap, wanna-be, kegger where a 15 year old girl wears a hot-pink, imitation taffeta dress, like some cheap two-bit whore with her army of pimps trailing her, waiting to assault her as she leaves church!!!

    I would think with the large number of people in this country who blame the approximately 12 million illegal Mexicans for just about anything wrong in the U.S., you would help in any way you could to make our race look squeaky clean… even if its reigning in how you dress or how you dress your 15 year old daughter at something as benign as a coming out party on a 15th birthday.

  12. Excuse me, but I couldn’t disagree more. Yes, SOME of the dresses can be a little risqu`e, but whose fault is that? I believe that even though it is the girl’s 15th birthday, HER day so to speak, she is still her mother’s daughter, and that mother should have enough sense to not permit a provocative gown on her 15-year old. Unless of course, the mother is okay with, which would most likely mean that you accusations could be true, as with any family who is undereducated, with lesser values, or with no morale values whatsoever. But even so, a quinceneara can be a beautiful thing. I hope you can come to see that. I respect that you yourself are mexican, and that perhaps a financial disgruntlement could’ve prevented you or you daughter to experience this, but did you ever ask how she felt about it? Did she even know anything about her own culture? Even if it was adopted from French, as most cultures are. And one more thing; I would appreciate it if you did not insult the Catholic religion. You may be Catholic/Christian yourself, which would only add to my astonishment that you can confuse an enlightening ceremony with a sacrificial ritual. Your humor of it is not appealing. I have a (distant) background of culture in things such as sacrifice, and did not find it amusing that you would compare these two. Both are religious, yes, but did you see Miss Quince A`nos be placed on a pyramidical structure, and the congregation surround her whilst chanting? I most definitely hope not, or I would have a huge apology to give to you. Please, rethink your former opinions, and perhaps research in a less biased state of mind the next time you are compelled to.

  13. Recently, a 6th grade boy asked in a social studies class about celebrations across different cultures, “Why is that girls have a quinceanera and then get pregnant?” The young man was not being rude or disruptive; he asked a question which immediately received many head nods across the room and sincere, questioning eyes looking at an adult for an answer.
    Unfortunately, in some traditional Hispanic communities, the traditional meaning of the celebration still exists in which girls believe that they have become adults and can behave, at 15-years-young, like an adult in every area, including being sexually active. Statistically, even with the current ability to easily access birth control, 51% of girls who are Hispanic will be pregnant before they are 20-years-old.
    When 6th graders recognize such a blatantly obvious trend, then one can only wonder why the adults cannot see that continuing a centuries-old tradition which, in essence, gives permission for a girl to become an unwed teen statistics, is not in the best interest of the girl, her family, or her community.
    We are no longer in the stone age, we are in the Information Age and it is time to allow traditions to change, evolve, and sometimes die a natural death. This is necessary in order to meet the needs of the current society – not blindly hang-on to a tradition which is outdated, unproductive, and, 51% of the time, even counter-productive.

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