QuinCeaneraS O O 12
By John Vaughn Photos loaned
Quinceanera... a coming of age
ne day last January, Annaa Laura Lopez put on a pair of tennis shoes, as might any child or teenager getting ready for school or the play- ground.
But this occasion was different. Along with the sneak-
ers, Annaa Laura wore a long, flowing formal dress as she walked down a church aisle, then stood before a gathering of more than 1,000 people, all witnesses to promises she was making in a speech to serve God, her church, her family and community.
In a reception that followed the mass,
Annaa Laura’s father Mario removed the tennis shoes, exchanging them for a pair of high heels.
Annaa Laura had worn the tennis
shoes to church to symbolize her child- hood and youth she was leaving behind. The switch for a formal shoe represented her transition to womanhood.
The ceremony was a quinceanera, a
a grownup,’ I was thinking. ‘I have all these responsibili- ties. I’m a woman now, I’m changing now.’”
A quinceanera is sometimes likened to a Sweet 16 cel-
ebration or a debutante’s coming out party, and in the reception later at the Quechan Casino and Resort, Annaa Laura was feted with a multi-layered cake and DJ music and dancing that lasted till midnight.
Annaa Laura had worn the tennis shoes to church to symbolize her childhood and youth she was leaving behind. The switch for a formal shoe represented her transition to womanhood.
traditional celebration held by Latino families in Yuma, throughout the Southwest and in neigh- boring Mexico to mark their daughters’ 15th birthdays.
The significance of that milestone wasn’t lost on Annaa
Laura, a student at Cibola High School. “I was kind of nervous,” she said recently, recalling the
quinceanera service at St. Francis Catholic Church. “‘I’m
But implicit in the Annaa Laura’s quinceanera were the obligations that would stay with her long after the party, indeed throughout life.
“You’re coming of age,” said her mother,
Anna Lopez. “And that entails new respon- sibilities, and it also entails setting an example.”
By setting an example, Lopez, means serv-
ing as a role model for the next generation of girls who are approaching 15.
Annaa Laura is the youngest of the
Lopezes’ two daughters. Daughter Brenda, now 19, and studying nutrition and dietetics
at Arizona State University in Tempe, had her quinceane- ra in June 2007 at St. Francis.
That ceremony served as example to Brenda’s sister
about the importance of accepting adult responsibilities, said their mother, and Annaa Laura, while not having a younger sibling, now has the task of passing along the same lessons to other girls in her extended family.
SouthweSt Living - CeLebrationS 2011
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