Today is a very, very special day for all of us down here in Bachinva. In fact it will be a first for us personally AND the Casa. At 3:00 we will be celebrating the lovely Maria Ana’s 15th birthday, also known as her “quinceañera” or “quince”. Months and months have been spent planning and preparing to celebrate and honor Maria Ana. Honestly, it’s almost as intense as planning a wedding.
I had to do a little research to understand more about the meaning behind a “quinceañera.” Quinceañeras developed in Aztec culture in Mesoamerica around 500 BC. A young woman’s 15th birthday is celebrated differently from any other as it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood. Sort of like a rite of passage. 500 BC, that’s a long time ago to start celebrating turning 15. Nowadays, for a young woman here in Mexico, Latin America and in the Americas as well, turning 15 is a huge, sometimes massive celebration. Basically like a wedding. In 2015, they say that a traditional quince cost anywhere from $5,000 up to $15,000 dollars.
From the moment we started talking, planning and sharing about the quince, people within the church and community stepped right up to help. Whether that was helping with organizing, purchasing, painting nails, doing hair, making decorations, cakes, food, practicing music, etc, a community of people who love Maria Ana, have rallied together to make this an unforgettable day for her.
One of Maria Ana’s favorite places to be is at church. Whether is for a service, youth group an event, or just helping clean, she requested her quince to be held at the church with all of her church family and friends. We are also very blessed to have Maria Ana’s mom, older and younger sister here for the special occasion, who traveled down from the mountains (8 hours away).
Normally, the young woman’s father walks her down the aisle and dances with her. As many of you know, Maria Ana’s father died years ago. And so, I’ve been asked to walk her down the aisle today. Wowza, during rehearsal I almost lost it. I still remember the first time I ever met this once shy, quiet, embarrassed little girl, who today, becomes a young woman. Sheesh, I hope I don’t start balling!
Today will truly be a memorable day as we have the blessed privilege to honor, pray for, encourage through scripture verses and song and celebrate Maria Ana. Lots of stories, laughs, food, postre (desserts) will be had. But most importantly, Maria Ana will know that she is loved and cherished by not only her friends and family gathering today, but also her Heavenly Father looking down from above.
“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well” (Ps. 139:13–14).