Posted 18 April 2012 - 05:26 PM
I would change one single word:
Even Especially families of low economic means make a very big deal about this event, and spend a LOT of money on it.
In Mexico's upper classes, the Mass and party and rituals that LaChula mentioned are being replaced with nightclub parties (yes, even at the tender age of 15), cruises, NY and European vacations, and other things in that price range.
At Lakeside, which is rural Mexico, things are still done in a very 'country' way--not a bad thing at all. The quinceañera's dress may be the fanciest she's ever had, her chambelanes wear tails and cravats color-coordinated with the girl's dress, the damas wear special fancy dresses that are also color-coordinated with the quinceañera's dress, there may be live music followed by or alternating with a DJ, there will be a huge party including a big special meal following the Mass--it's all really a lot of fun. One of the most-fun quinceañeras I attended in Ajijic was (at the honoree's request) done all in charro outfits. The lovely 15-year-old wore a cream-color charro jacket and long skirt with gold braid and a wide cream-color sombrero. Her parents wore black and white with typical green, white, and red floppy charro ties; the mother wore a lovely black silk rebozo. The girl's brothers and nephews were the chambelanes, all dressed as charros, and the damas wore coordinating dresses. It was simple (honest, it was) and gorgeous.
The vals--the formal dance that the kids learn--is closer to a minuet than a waltz. The set figures of the dance are very particular and very special; the kids practice literally for weeks, with a specialized teacher, to learn their steps for this once-in-a-lifetime event. There can be as many as eight to ten chambelanes and an equal number of damas, all strutting their stuff for their parents, godparents, and friends.
Following the vals, there may be a special show put on by the quinceañera and her friends. The trend has been that the kids change into other costumes--circus attire, or jazz dance gear, or something similar--and come out in carefully rehearsed entertainments for everyone in attendance. Following that, there'll be rock'n'roll dancing till the wee hours, or till dawn.