From the Editors 29 (2011)Engineer and Editor Juan Hart Moved El Paso Forward 29 (2011)Elizabeth Garrett: Songbird of the Southwest 29 (2011)A Passionate Life: Josephine Clardy Fox 29 (2011)Forgotten No More: Korean War POW Tells Story of Survival 29 (2011)Janice Woods Windle Treasures Family History 29 (2011)Andy and Syd Cohen: The Men Behind the Name 29 (2011)Leona Ford Washington Preserved Black History 29(2011)Ingeborg Heuser Brought Professional Ballet to City 29 (2011)Lee and Beulah Moor Left Legacy of Love 29 (2011)
From the Editors 28 (2010)Chasin’ Away the Blues: Texas Sunday Legislation 28 (2010)Simeon Hart Pioneered Local Industry 28 (2010)Felix Martinez: Southwestern Renaissance Man 28 (2010)Teresa Urrea: La Santa de Cabora Inspired Mexican Revolution 28 (2010)Utopia in Mesilla: The Shalam Colony 28 (2010)Stahmann Farms Produce Pecans on Two Hemispheres 28 (2010)Betty Mary Goetting Brought Birth Control to El Paso 28 (2010)Maud Sullivan Made El Paso Public Library a Cultural Center 28 (2010)Lucy Acosta’s Legacy Continues in LULAC 28 (2010)Belen Robles: Voice for the Latino Community 28 (2010)Toltec Club: Of Ghosts and Guests 28 (2010)
Strong Women Building a Strong City -- From the Editors 27(2008)Notable Women of El Paso 27(2009)The Chew Legacy: The Story of Herlinda Wong Chew 27(2009)Desert Nightingale: Louise Dietrich 27(2009)1909-2009: YWCA Celebrates 100 Years in El Paso 27(2009)Mabel Welch: El Paso’s First Female Architect 27(2009)Myrna Deckert Remains Modest About Achievements 27(2009)Suzie Azar Still Reaches for the Sky 27 (2009)The Moocher: Callie Fairley, First Woman Vice Detective in El Paso 27(2009)Alicia R. Chacón Came to Politics Naturally 27 (2009)Rosa Guerrero: Cultural Dynamo 27 (2009)
From the Past to the Present -- From the Editor 26 (2007/08)Yandell Boulevard Named for Prominent El Paso Physician 26 (2007/08)Japanese Immigrants Came Slowly to Borderland 26 (2007/08)World War II Affected Japanese Immigrants 26 (2007/08)Living, Breathing New Mexico Ghost Town: Hillsboro 26 (2007/08)Canutillo Developed from Land Grant 26 (2007/08)Rómulo Escobar Zerman: Juárez Agronomist and Teacher 26 (2007/08)El Paso Mayor: Tom Lea Jr. 26 (2007/08)Ted Karam: Lebanese Immigrant Lived American Dream 26 (2007/08)Publication Credits 26 (2007/08)
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From the Director 24 (2005)From the Editors 24 (2005)Gypsie Davenport and May Palmer Ran Infamous Brothels 24 (2005)Pioneer Attorney William Burges Tackled Unpopular Issues 24 (2005)Richard Fenner Burges: Renaissance Man 24 (2005)Charles Kelly Wielded Power with Political 'Ring' 24 (2005)Tom Charles Wanted World to Know White Sands 24 (2005)Dripping Springs has Rich History 24 (2005)Thomas B. White Directed Innovative La Tuna for 19 Years 24 (2005)Cowboys on the Range --- Missile Range, That Is 24 (2005)Ranchers vs. the Feds: The McNew Saga 24 (2005)Mexican Repatriation in 1930s 24 (2005)White House Department Store 24 (2005)Thomason Hospital Celebrates 90 Years 24 (2005)R.E. Thomason Shaped City, State, Nation 24 (2005)
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We're Now on the Web --From the Editor 21(2002)From the Editors 21(2002)Downtown Opium Dens Attracted Many 21(2002)Juneteenth Celebrates Freedom for Texas Slaves 21(2002)Black Cowboys Rode the Trails, Too 21(2002)Ku Klux Klan Had Short Life in El Paso 21(2002)Mining Became Big Business in Southwest 21(2002)Smeltertown Still Exists in Memories 21 (2002)El Paso Played Important Role in the Mexican Revolution 21 (2002)Pancho Villa Led Northern Forces in Revolution 21 (2002)Soldaderas Played Important Roles in Revolution 21 (2002)Pershing, Villa Forever Linked to Columbus 21 (2002)Cristeros Became Mexican Martyrs 1926-1929 -- 21 (2002)Houchen Settlement House Helped New Arrivals 21 (2002)Otis A. Aultman Captured Border History in Pictures 21 (2002)
Hot Springs Have Long HistoryThe Building of a City -- From the Editor 20 (2001)From the Staff (Volume 20)Pat Garrett Enjoyed Controversy 20 (2001)Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire Terrorized Town 20 (2001)History Reveals Rivalry of Madams Etta Clark and Alice Abbott 20 (2001)Kohlberg, Krupp, Zielonka Became Business and Civic Leaders 20 (2001)Olga Kohlberg Pioneered Many Local Organizations 20 (2001)Henry Trost's Architectural Legacy Lives On 20 (2001)Sunset Heights Preserves History 20 (2001)Adolph Schwartz Built Local Retail Dynasty 20 (2001)Zach T. White Brought Progress to El Paso 20 (2001)Masons Became Leaders in Texas, El Paso 20 (2001)Smallpox Epidemic Showed Need for Hospitals20 (2001)El Paso High School Remains Classic 20 (2001)Bhutanese Architecture Distinguishes UTEP Campus 20 (2001)Elephant Butte Dam Solved Early Water Problems 20 (2001)
Pioneer Ranch became Concordia Cemetery 19 (2000)El Paso Grows Up 19 (2000)From the Staff 19 (2000)Chinese Immigrants Helped Build Railroad in El Paso 19 (2000)Volunteer Fire Department Grew into Professional Company 19 (2000)1880s Brought First Theaters to Town 19 (2000)Sisters of Charity Began Hotel Dieu Hospital 19 (2000)Tuberculosis Turned El Paso Into a Health Center 19 (2000)First Public School Built in 1884 19 (2000)Enigmatic Olivas Aoy Began School for Mexican Children 19 (2000)El Paso Public Library Began Modestly 19 (2000)Jesuits Continue to Influence Area 19 (2000)Sisters of Loretto Have Long Tradition in Southwest 19 (2000)Mormons Found Sanctuary in Mexico in 1880s 19 (2000)Mennonite Colonies in Mexico Accept Change Slowly 19 (2000)Flu Epidemic of 1918 Hit El Paso Hard 19 (2000)Early City Planners Saw Future in Scenic Drive 19 (2000)Prohibition Stimulated Economies of El Paso, Juárez 19 (2000)
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Aztecs Ruled Complex, Rich Society 17 (1998)From the Editor 17 (1998)Aztec Beliefs Helped Conquer Mexico 17 (1998)Cortés Created New Order in Mexico 17 (1998)La Malinche Remains Controversial 17 (1998)Cabeza de Vaca: Travels in Texas 17 (1998)Estebán Furthered Legend of Cíbola 17 (1998)Coronado Searched for Cities of Gold 17 (1998)Oñate Conquered Desert to Explore Southwest 17 (1998)Festival Celebrates Oñate's Historic Arrival 17 (1998)Fray Garcia Left Great Legacy 17 (1998)Franciscans Brought Catholicism to Area 17 (1998)America's First Highway: El Camino Real 17 (1998)Pueblo Revolt Brought Tiguas South 17 (1998)Tigua Indians Survive 300 Years of Ordeals 17 (1998)Area Missions are Part of Living History 17 (1998)San Elizario Presidio Protected Settlers 17 (1998)Ethnic Terms Can Cause Confusion 17 (1998)
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Change on the Border 15 (1997)From the Editor 15 (1997)Latinos Work To Change Stereotypes In Hollywood 15 (1997)Cesar Chávez: Simple Man, People’s Hero 15 (1997)Shelter For Farm Workers Becomes Reality 15 (1997)Women’s Shelter Helps To Heal The Pain 15 (1997)Home Schools Become Popular Alternative 15 (1997)Renovation May Revive Downtown El Paso 15 (1997)Title IX Changed Women's Sports 15 (1997)Special Olympics Shine In El Paso 15 (1997)La Fe Clinic Serves South El Paso 15 (1997)ASARCO Works To Clean Up Its Act 15 (1997)A Growing Phenomenon: Single Fathers 15 (1997)Stepfamilies Become More Numerous 15 (1997)Teens Rebel Against Authority 15 (1997)Comics Retain Popularity 15 (1997)Tom Moore And Archie Have Timeless Appeal 15 (1997)
Life on the Border: 1950s & 1960s --14 (1996)From The Editors 14 (1996)A Baseball Team By Any Other Name 14 (1996)Drive-In Theaters Appealed to all Ages 14 (1996)El Paso Trolley First to Connect Two Nations 14 (1996)Barbie Doll Revolutionized Toy Industry 14 (1996)Rabies Took Bite of Sun City 14 (1996)Rabies: A Deadly Virus 14 (1996)Border Patrol Used Variety of Methods to Control Immigration 14 (1996)L. A. Nixon Fought Texas Voting Law 14 (1996)Douglass School Served Black Community Well 14 (1996)Thelma White Case Forced College Integration 14 (1996)Steve Crosno: An El Paso Original 14 (1996)Rock 'N' Roll Defined Teen Culture 14 (1996)A Shopping Mall by the People for the People 14 (1996)Chamizal Dispute Settled Peacefully 14 (1996)Turney Mansion Becomes Work of Art 14 (1996)First Hispanic Mayor Elected in 1957 -- 14 (1996)Flower Children Chose Alternative Lifestyle 14 (1996)
Three Decades of History 12 (1994)From the Editors 12 (1994)The Plaza Theater…Here to Stay!? 12 (1994)El Paso Broadcasting: The Stories Behind the Call Letters 12 (1994)Alphabet Agencies: FDR's Brainstorm 12 (1994)Chihuahuita in the 1930s: Tough Times in the Barrio 12 (1994)Hobo Sign Language Targeted El Paso 12 (1994)Self- Sufficiency Key to Farmers' Survival During Depression 12 (1994)Hanna's Story A Holocaust Survivor Remembers 12 (1994)Former Members Recall Life in Hitler Youth 12 (1994)German Prisoners of War Interned at Fort Bliss During World War II -- 12 (1994)German POWs Remembered at Fort Bliss 12 (1994)One German POW's Story 12 (1994)Ration Books and Victory Gardens: Coping with Shortages 12 (1994)Women Changed Wartime Work Patterns 12 (1994)Bracero Program Hurt Domestic Farm Workers 12 (1994)San Pedro Pharmacy Retains Look of the Past 12 (1994)Teenage Fashions of the Nifty Fifties 12 (1994)Rebel Image of Motorcyclists Set in 1950s -- 12 (1994)
Border Customs and Crafts From the Editor 10 (1992)From the Editors 10 (1992)King on the Mountain 10 (1992)Piñatas! 10 (1992)How to Play the Piñata Game 10 (1992)Out of a Cotton Boll Bloom Beautiful Crafts 10 (1992)Cotton Boll Entertains Too 10 (1992)Hands That Create Art and Soul 10 (1992)La Charreada - Mexican Horsemanship 10 (1992)Boots - A Family Tradition 10 (1992)Some Boys Still Grow Up to be Cowboys 10 (1992)Boot Capital of the World 10 (1992)The Magic of Mariachis 10 (1992)Ballet Folklorico - High School Style 10 (1992)New Generation of Mariachis 10 (1992)The Lady is a Bullfighter 10 (1992)The Midwife: Choices for Border Women 10 (1992)Retablos: Echoes of Faith 10 (1992)Tigua Indians: Dancing for St. Anthony 10 (1992)The Aztec and the Miracle 10 (1992)A Hispanic Girl's Coming of Age 10 (1992)Art - Low and Slow 10 (1992)Wedding Traditions on the Border 10 (1992)
Border Food Folkways From the Editor 9 (1991)From the Staff 9 (1991)Tortillas: Border Staff of Life 9 (1991)The Booming Tortilla Industry in Mexico 9 (1991)Where's The Beef? In El Paso! 9 (1991)How Do I Love Thee, Piggy? Let Me Count the Ways! 9 (1991)Tamales By Any Other Name Remain The Same 9 (1991)Rio Grande Thanksgiving 9 (1991)The Tigua Indians: Food for Thought 9 (1991)Corn: The Golden Gift from Our Ancestors 9 (1991)Border Pottery - Function and Beauty 9 (1991)Holy Hot Mole! 9 (1991)Looking Back at the Chile Pepper 9 (1991)Men Behind the Chile Pepper 9 (1991)Hot Peppers : They're Not Just for Eating 9 (1991)Food, Spices Double as Folk Cures 9 (1991)Weeds or Edible Desert Plants? 9 (1991)Cactus: It's Good for You! 9 (1991)Day of the Dead Celebrates Spiritual Tradition 9 (1991)Nutricious, Delicious Beans 9 (1991)Menudo Makes The Big Time 9 (1991)Mediterranean Cuisine: Old Tradition, Fresh Idea 9 (1991)Lenten Foods: From Fasting to Fabulous 9 (1991)Tarahumaras Rely on Nature for Food 9 (1991)Tempting Sweet Breads : Pan de Dulce 9 (1991)
Border Customs and Crafts II From the Editor -- 11 (1993)From the Editors 11 (1993)The Best Little Asaderos in Texas 11 (1993)Glass Work Disappearing on Border 11 (1993)Cockfights Legal in Surrounding Areas 11 (1993)Local Craftsmen Keep Art of Saddlery Alive 11 (1993)James and Joseph Magoffin: El Paso Pioneers 11 (1993)Chile Ristras Brighten Border Homes 11 (1993)Magoffin Home Preserves El Paso's Past 11 (1993)Bavarian Custom Celebrated in El Paso: Oktoberfest 11 (1993)Munich on the Border 11 (1993)Santo Niño de Atocha Called Miracle Worker 11 (1993)Lenten Customs Vary 11 (1993)To Ask is to Receive 11 (1993)Border Maintains Tradition of Posadas 11 (1993)A Visit from Three Kings 11 (1993)Matachines: Soldiers of the Virgin 11 (1993)Dichos Are an Intricate Part of Mexican Culture 11 (1993)Cultural Superstitions Affect Behavior 11 (1993)Que Onda Homeboy! Why Do We Talk Like This? 11 (1993)Traditional Hispanic Children's Games Disappear 11 (1993)
El Paso Women to ResearchEl Paso Women to Research (by name)El Paso Men to ResearchEl Paso Men to Research (by name)
From the Editors 30 (2012)From the Editor, Credits and Contents 30 (2012)Jessie Hawkins and Jenna Welch: Love, Loss and Laughter 30 (2012)Woodrow Wilson Bean: One in a Million 30 (2012)David L. Carrasco Gave Back to Hometown 30 (2012)Cleofas Calleros Made Local History Important 30 (2012)Robert E. McKee: From Rags to Riches to Philanthropy 30 (2012)Kate Moore Brown: A Woman of Many Firsts 30 (2012)Fun in the 1890s: The McGinty Club 30 (2012)
Borderlands Web Issue From the Editor 31(2013/14)Acknowledgements 31(2013/14)Mother Praxedes Carty: Serving God by Serving Others 31(2013/14)Carrie Tingley Hospital and the Couple Behind It 31 (2013/14)Harvey Girls Changed the West 31(2013/14)Jake Erlich: A Big Man in Many Ways 31(2013/14)Vernus Carey: Mr. YMCA 31(2013/14)
Borderlands 32 Tolerance. From the Editors and Acknowledgements 32(2014/15)Henry Kellen Created El Paso Holocaust Museum 32(2014/15)Bicycle Padre Still Working 32(2014/15)El Paso Connections: Ambrose Bierce: writer 32(2014/15)Mysterious Deaths: Bobby Fuller, Rock Icon 32(2014/15)Mysterious Deaths: Tom Ogle, Inventor 32(2014/15)Jake Erlich: A Big Man in Many Ways 32(2014)Harvey Girls Changed the West 32(2014)
Borderlands 33 Service. From the Editors and Acknowledgements 33(2015)Nothing Is Impossible: Major General Heidi V. Brown 33 (2015)Local Latino Soldiers Receive Medal of Honor Decades after Heroism 33 (2015)Vernus Carey: Mr. YMCA 33 (2015)Will the Real Leon Blevins Please stand up? 33 (2015)Carrie Tingley Hospital and the Couple Behind It 33 (2015)Mother Praxedes Carty: Serving God by Serving Others 33 (2015)
Borderlands 34 Inspiration. From the Editors and Acknowledgements 34(2016/17)Building Bridges Instead of Walls: Temple Mount Sinai 34 (2016/17)Ruben Salazar: A Bridge Between Two Societies 34 (2016/17)Luis Jimenez: Art Creates Dialogue 34 (2016/17)Richard "Tuff" Hedeman: The Michael Jordan of Professional Bull Riding 34 (2016/17)Rescue Mission of El Paso Provides Food and Opportunity 34 (2016/17)
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A Hispanic Girl's Coming of Age

Article first published in Vol. 10, 1992.

By Alina Adauto, Jerome Ballard, Victor Manuel Correa and Linda Tarin.

Presentation of the court at the dance.The Aztecs didn't consider a woman human until her 15th birthday at which time she was admitted into tribal society with elaborate ritual. This tradition later became Christianized and is still followed by many Catholic Hispanic families on the border.

Presentation of the court at the dance. Photo courtesy of the Jesus Rodriguez family.

A young lady makes her debut before the church and society at the age of 15 in a rite of passage known as the quinceañera , celebrating the girl's transition from childhood to adulthood. Hispanics on the border have continued the custom of making a girl's 15th birthday one of the most important and memorable events on her life.

Preparations for the quinceañera often begin a year in advance, for it is usually done on a grand scale. There are guest lists and menus to compile, invitations to order, the mass, the celebration hall and band to schedule, flowers to order and, as in wedding, attendants to select.

The young lady carefully chooses 14 of her girlfriends and/ or relatives to be in her court. Each of the 14 girls, or damas, represents one year of the honoree's life, with the 15th year represented by the debutante, or Quinceañera, as she is referred to, herself. Escorts for each one of the girls are also chosen.

The Quinceañera wears a dress similar to a wedding dress but with a few differences. On the border, the traditional dress is white, with a snug top and a bell-shaped floor length skirt, but this dress does not have a train. Some girls may choose a pink dress and in the Mexican interior, the Quinceañera's dress may be any pastel color with white reserved for her wedding dress.

Her escort, or chambelán as he is known in Spanish, wears a white or black tuxedo. The other chambelanes in the court wear black tuxedos, and the damas wear the style and color of dress the Quinceañera selects.

After the clothes have been chosen and the couples have been matched according to height, the court starts meeting on a regular basis in order to practice dance routines, one of which is the waltz that is traditionally performed at the dance.

In the meantime the Quinceañera is required to take a class at her church before her 15th birthday. This class deals with her relationship with God and the Catholic community. Aurora Legarreta, an El Pasoan who had a Quinceañera six years ago says, "This class was helpful in teaching me that having a quinceañera is not just one big birthday party. It is a celebration of being accepted into the Catholic Church as an adult."

When the day for celebrating finally arrives, everyone involved is filled with excitement and relief. This is a culmination of all the practice and preparation.

That morning the chambelanes take care of the cleaning and decorating of the cars in which the Quinceañeras and her court will be riding. The cars are decorated with streamers and flowers made of colored crepe paper that matches the color of the attendant's dresses.

The Quinceañeras ride in the first car, usually white, which is decorated in white and the color of the damas' dresses. Everyone is filled with excitement as they board the cars for the trip to the church, each car following behind another, forming a caravan.

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At the church they participate in a special mass where the 15-year-old girl renews her baptismal vows in the presence of God. The parents offer this mass of thanksgiving in honor of their daughter's patron saint. Under the old tradition, the mass was performed on Sunday since it was the Christian Sabbath, but today, for convenience sake, the entire celebration is held on Saturday.

During the mass itself, the 14 girls and their escorts line up first and are followed by the honoree's escort and her mother, the godparents and finally the Quinceañera and her father. The court walks all the way down the aisle to the altar where the couples then divide. The damas kneel at the left side and the chambelanes on the right so the Quinceañera is at the center of her court and of everyone's attention.

Making her way to the altar, the Quinceañera kneels and the priest blesses her, thus introducing her to the church as an adult. The girl than places a bouquet of flowers, her rosary and prayer books, which are symbols of her childhood, at the base of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary. While giving these gifts to the Virgin Mary, the Quinceañera thanks the Mother of God for being a role model.

This mass is filled with symbolic meanings. During the offertory, the girl receives a sacred medal of her saint, a birthstone ring, a crown and flowers.

The sacred medal symbolizes her religious expression of faith. The Quinceañera is placed under the protection of the saint represented by the image on the medal. The ring represents the ties and the responsibility the young lady has to her community. These two pieces of jewelry are the girl's first adult jewelry , constant reminders that she is a child no longer. The crown symbolizes her victory in trying to live a Christian life in spite of all the problems and challenges of her environment. The flowers represent the new commitment she makes to responsibility in her community.

After the mass is over; the Quinceañera walks out of the church with her escort instead of her father. The court walks out holding hands followed by the parents and her godparents. Following the mass, the court gathers for a photo session, and then it's time to eat. Some parents of the debutante have a sit-down dinner at their home for the family and the court. Others have a buffet-style dinner at the hall for all their invited guests.

The hall is usually decorated the night before by the Quinceañera, her family and the court. At the dinner, guests present their gifts and good wishes to the Quinceañera.

At the reception, a toast is made to the Quinceañera, and she cuts a huge wedding-like cake, often elaborately decorated in her chosen colors and made with as many as seven layers. It is now time to begin the dance which represents the Quinceañera's introduction to society.

The Master of Ceremonies first introduces the damas and their escorts, then the godparents followed by her parents. They form two lines as the Quinceañera and her chambelán make their entrance onto the dance floor. At the moment she hears her name announced, she makes her social debut.

The father of the 15-year-old then stands by this daughter, and the youngest girl in the family, a sister or cousin, for example, goes up to the Quinceañera and hands her doll that is dressed just the debutante. This custom in another symbol that she is leaving childhood and entering womanhood.

Later, at midnight, the Quinceañera will give the doll to her younger sister. If there is no other sister, it is given to another young girl in the extended family. Whoever receives the doll will then go through the same ritual in her quinceañera, resulting in the doll being handed down through several generations in one family.

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According to Sandra Aguirre, a UTEP journalism major, after the presentation of the doll, the mother of the Quinceañera walks onto the dance floor holding the girl's first pair of heels on a satin pillow. The Quinceañera, who has been wearing flat shoes throughout the day, takes a seat and her mother kneels before her. She then removes her daughter's shoes and places the heels on her feet.

This act symbolizes the debutante's departure from childhood and she now steps out into the world as a woman. In some rituals, a little girl carries the pillow with the Quinceañera's first heels and a page removes her slippers and places the heels on her feet.

The Quinceañera then takes the hand of her chambelán and they dance a traditional waltz with the court joining in soon after. After a while during this waltz, the chambelán hand the Quinceañera to her father for part of the waltz, and the escorts dances with her mother. The father then escorts the Quinceañera to her godfather who, after a whirl or two, gives her back to her chambelán. After the waltz is over, the lights dim and the dance is open to everyone.

While the tradition of a quinceañera has changed only very little throughout the years, the cost of having one has changed dramatically. Thirty years ago a quinceañera, including a hall, music, food and pictures, would have cost between $500 and $600.

Gisela Torres recalls that her quinceañeras cost almost $8,000. "We planned for months and spent too much money, but I love it. My quinceañera made feel so grown up. One day I was just 14-year-old girl planning my birthday party, and the next day I was an adult."

El Pasoan Jesus Rodriguez has held quinceañeras for three of his four daughters. The most recent one was for third daughter, Jessica, who celebrated her 15th birthday September 27, 1991.

Though most people take several months to plan a quinceañera, the Rodriguez family had only two to three weeks to organize Jessica's. She had previously decided against having one but changed her mind at the last moment.

Even with such short notice, the Rodriguez family was able to rent a ballroom, which included the disco. They also managed to hire mariachis, four security guards for the dance, and they bought the cake, drinks and food, all in time for their daughter's big day.

Maria Rodriguez, Jessica's mother, also crocheted the table decoration herself. The baskets were filled with cookies and placed at the center of each table. She also crocheted a big basket holding the spring bouquet that was presented to Jessica by her court. Mr. Rodriguez, a printer the invitations himself, and Jessica's grandmother, Leandra Diaz, bought her granddaughter's dress as a gift.

Even though the Rodriguez family handled many of the preparation themselves, the quinceañera still cost them about $5,000, a big contrast to quinceañeras of the past. Considering the cost of a quinceañera these days, it's lucky for the Rodriguez family that they only have one more quinceañera to celebrate.

There are some girls who choose to go on a trip or buy a car instead of having a quinceañera. This just depends on the parents and their daughter's desires and the family's adherence to custom.

The tradition of the quinceañera has undergone a few changes as customs and cultures meet and mix. Its influence can be seen at an event sponsored by the Las Cruces Symphony Association. The Fiesta de la Quinceañeras del Valle de Mesilla is held yearly to introduce the 15-year-old daughters or granddaughters of the symphony patrons into society.

These Quinceañeras take six months to prepare for their debuts by attending workshops on community service, career guidance, and social graces and college selection.

While the rituals of a traditional quinceañera vary slightly from family to family and generation to generation, the memories that this tradition creates are never forgotten.

Something comes over an Hispanic girl who is approaching her 15th birthday. As the day of the traditional quinceañera comes closer, a young girl slowly and almost magically changes. Finally the awkward, sometimes silly little girl is left behind, and a beautiful, graceful Quinceañera dressed in white emerges before society.

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