OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — The Latino community in Oklahoma is vibrant, strong and growing. It’s part of the reason one Latina tradition is becoming more and more popular.
It’s an important milestone in the life of a 15-year-old girl. Hispanic families often start saving when their daughter is born.
The Hernandez family did when Adamari was born.
“It really was special,” said Brenda Hernandez of Tango PR. “It was nice.”
The quinceañera is one of the most elaborate, fantastical traditions in Hispanic culture; a celebration of 15 years of life.
For most, the day begins with a Catholic service.
“It was just a great, great way to say thank you, to celebrate and to honor all those great people who have planted a seed in her,” said Adamari’s father, Jorge Hernandez.
Jorge and Brenda Hernandez spent years dreaming of this rite of passage for their daughter.
“We wanted to make sure that she understood that she has a very important role on this earth,” Brenda said. “Her family loves her, and that more importantly, God loves her.”
They also spent about nine months planning the important details, including a mariachi band featuring Jorge on the trumpet, and a heartwarming serenade by Adamari’s little brother.
“It was really sweet. We were all bawling our eyes out,” said Adamari. “I realized everybody was there for me, and everybody was there to support me, and that was honestly, enough. All the big stuff didn’t even matter. But the fact that everybody was willing to come out just for my birthday was just so sweet.”
Adamari’s grandparents bought the dress; a magnificent gown, fit for introducing a Latina girl to society: the Quinceañera.
These days, there is an entire industry devoted to Quinceañera gowns. The color and style are often a secret until the day of the event.
“The big hoop is a traditional shape, and here lately, the bigger, the better,” said the owner of Bella Style, Jafet Castillo. “Right now, girls are loving butterflies.”
Bella Style in South Oklahoma City specializes in Quinceañera accessories. Some young ladies start shopping at 13 years old.
Quinceañera gowns can take six to nine months to sew, and cost from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.
The 15th is a milestone birthday in a culture rich with tradition.
“It’s an opportunity to get together with family and celebrate together,” said Jorge.
“Our young ladies are going through so much, and I feel that it’s more important than ever for them to be reassured that they’re not alone,” said Brenda. “They have a strong support system, and everything’s going to be okay.”
It is an unforgettable fiesta that often stretches from one day into the small hours of the next.
The average price of a Quinceañera ranges from $5,000 to $20,000, with the most lavish parties running near $50,000.