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Lucero's 15th Birthday - Quinceaños

Lucero has been living in the Mexico Child Link project since 1996. She had her 15th birthday party on 9th September 2006


The Quinceaños in Mexico

Lucero - the Quinceañera






The Quinceaños (meaning fifteen years) in Mexico is, a young woman's celebration of her fifteenth birthday, which is celebrated in a unique and different way from her other birthdays. It marks the transition from childhood to womanhood. In Mexico the 15th birthday is always the cause for a major celebration.

Lucero (circled) on arrival in 1996








The word Quinceañera is used to refer to the young woman whose 15th birthday is being celebrated. It is analogous to the Spanish word "cumpleañera" for "birthday girl". The closest equivalents to the Quinceañera in the English-speaking world are the sweet sixteen or, in more affluent communities, a debutante ball at the age of eighteen. Lucero has always been very popular with the staff at the project and they spent months planning the event to make sure that she had a very special day. Lucero (circled) has been living in the Mexico Child Link project for over ten years and she is a very special person in the lives of many people

Lucero with her two chambelanes at the start of the formal waltz










In Mexico, if the Quinceañera is Catholic, the festivities begin with a Thanksgiving Mass at which the Quinceañera arrives in formal dress. A Quinceañera would normally be accompanied by her parents, but in Lucero's case she was accompanied by Angelica López, a former project director who is also Lucero's Godparent. A male friend from her school also accompanied her. The mass was attended by all the important people in Lucero's life, including project staff past and present, her school friends and other children from the home where she lives. After the Mass, she left her bouquet of flowers on the altar.

It is traditional to wear a pink dress and a tiara because she is a princess in God's eyes that night. At the party the birthday girl does a formal waltz with two or more "chambelanes". Lucero has been profoundly deaf since birth and she spent many weeks practicing her dance steps with the two young men who accompanied her.

The sponsors of Lucero's party






The mass was followed by a party in Tenextepec which was planned over many weeks. At the party, Lucero danced the traditional first waltz. and a sound system blasted out music to the 200 guests. In Mexico, those who help financially with the organization of a party such as this are known as Patrocinadores (Patrons).


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Lucero's day starts with a special birthday mass
Lucero's day started with mass in her local church. Juan Gabriel and Oscar took their first communion on the same day.

The tables are set for Lucero's party

The tables are laid out for the start of Lucero's party.

Lucero prepares to show her dance steps

Lucero gets ready to show her dance steps at the start of a formal waltz.
Lucero with her "chambelán".

Lucero and Colette

Colette McGinnity, one of the project founders, travelled from Ireland to be at Lucero's party.

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