Culture

This Family Threw A Quinceañera For Their Cat’s Fifteenth And Even Got Her A Dress For The Occasion

Cats are little bundles of love that make the world a happier, fluffier place —even if sometimes they scratch us to death and break everything that stands in their way, we still love them. This mom loves her cat so very much, that she threw a whole quinceañera party for her kitty, on the little one’s fifteenth birthday —dress and all.

This family stopped at nothing to give their precious kitty the celebration she deserved.

Credit: The Dodo

If you’re a Latina, you probably spent a good part of your life dreaming up your perfect quinceañera. From the dress, to the music, to your entourage, to the cake. There are so many things to consider when throwing the most important party a girl can have; her official entry into womanhood. Well, the same thoughtful and careful planning went into this kitty’s quince.

Luna is the family’s pride and joy, they adopted her after finding her struggling on the side of a road.

This little one celebrated her fifteenth year with her family. They adopted her when she was only three weeks old after they found her on the side of the road looking for shelter and struggling to live. They named her Luna, and since that day, she’s been the family’s pride and joy. 

“Luna is an absolute sweetheart, loves curling up with people and loves laying on her back on the floor,” Angel Olavarria, Luna’s brother, told The Dodo. “We have spoiled her with abundant love and she has outlived all of our pets. On her 15th birthday we decided to give our little cheese ball a surprise quinceañera.” 

The family wanted to celebrate the fifteen years they’ve spent with Luna by their side by spoiling her with all the treats.

Fifteen years of prowling on this earth is definitely a huge milestone for a kitty, who by this point has a loving and very deep connection with her family and has chosen her allies and human slaves. So we’re not surprised that the family organized a well-deserved pachanga for their little pet: her very own quinceañera.

And no, we’re not exaggerating by saying that they threw the cat a whole quince party, it was a real Mexican-style fiesta celebrating Luna’s womanhood…or cathood if you will. For those of you who might be living under a rock and are not aware of what a quinceañera party is; well it’s only the most important party a Latina girl can get. Traditionally, when a girl turns fifteen it is believed that she has reached woomanhood and so her family throws a party to say goodbye to the little girl and introduce her to society as a woman.

Mom came up with the idea, and she even ordered a quinceañera dress for the birthday girl.

It was all Olavarria’s mom’s idea. She first came up with the idea on Luna’s fourteenth birthday, and began working on plans for the party a whole week in advance. There would be food, a cake, decorations, a guest list and of course a special dress (and matching crown) for the birthday girl. 

That day, like every other, Luna was the queen of the house, only this time it was evident —note the outfit. “My mom found the dress on Amazon,” Olavarria said. “I totally thought my mom was joking when she said she was going to order a dress for her, but my mom never jokes about our pets.”

Luna was set at the head of the table and enjoyed her own cake.

On the big day, Luna’s family put her in her fancy dress and sat her at the head of the table to celebrate the wonderful fifteen years they’ve spent together. The room was decked out with pink tablecloth, balloons and flower arrangements. The celebration even included a little cake with tiny dolls matching Luna’s outfit. There was a huge feast with special cat treats that she probably only ever gets on very special occasions. 

There was a guestlist, an assortment of treats, lots of decorations and a ‘tres leches’ cake.

There was a total of 12 guests, family members and friends were all in attendance, and the party went on for three hours. They all enjoyed the company with lots of food and a traditional ‘tres leches’ cake. It seems like the kitty really enjoyed her party. She licked her whiskers and ate everything that was set in front of her. Her humans didn’t let any detail slide. “She was such a good sport through the whole thing that we think she actually knew we were celebrating her,” Olavarria said “She loved it even more when we opened up a nice can of tuna for her.” 

All we can hope for is that someday someone will love us as much as this family loves their Luna.

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This Brand Is Being Called A ‘Culture Vulture’ After Being Accused Of Gentrifying Latino Cooking

Culture

This Brand Is Being Called A ‘Culture Vulture’ After Being Accused Of Gentrifying Latino Cooking

Granddriver / Getty Images

As a kid growing up in a Latino household, pretty much everyone had a giant molcajete for grinding up spices and making salsas, or a tortilladora for whipping up homemade tacos and quesadillas. And as staple of pretty much any Latina home, they weren’t that expensive either.

Well, one online company has taken all of that and flipped it upside down to try and make a very hefty profit by bringing ‘artisan crafted’ products into people’s homes – helping them experience a ‘cultural journey.’

The store’s outrageous prices for such traditional kitchen items is generating tons of criticism alone from people calling them ‘culture vultures’ and accusing them of gentrifying Latino cooking and cultural appropriation.

Verve Culture is being called a ‘culture vulture’ for taking traditional Latino cooking tools and selling them at insanely high prices.

Credit: MiComidaVegana / YouTube

Verve Culture – an online store dedicated to bringing “you on a cultural journey” – is facing a series of complaints after profiting from traditional cultural products. The company sells typical products in the preparation of three traditional cuisines at very high prices: Mexican, Moroccan, and Thai.

In the case of traditional Mexican products, the company sells orange and lemon juices; accessories for making chocolate, blown glasses, and molcajetes. And at insanely high prices: a molcajete for $60, a tortilla press for $60, a Mexican chocolate set for $80, and a “Mexican hand juicer” for $15.

The company is obviously profiting off of traditional products of a culture that is too often denigrated – or on the other end of the spectrum, fetishized. Brands are no stranger to appropriating traditional cultural items to boost sales but this particular instance seems to have hit a major nerve with shoppers.

Like, for real?! A molcajete for $60 USD?!

Among some of the most outrageous priced items is a molcajete and tortillero set that goes for $60 USD. That’s literally 20 times more expensive than it should cost.

As someone who lives in Ciudad de México, and who does their shopping at local tianguis and mercados, I have literally bought the exact same set Verve Culture is selling. I paid $60 pesos for the set – not $60 USD – or about $3 USD.

Selling items like this at such inflated prices means Verve Culture is profiting off of the cultural and gastronomic identity of an entire country. So it’s no surprise that Mexican Twitter lit up in shock and anger.

The reaction on Twitter was swift and full of outrage.

A Tweet showing off the outrageously priced products and accusing the brand of “gentrifying Mexican kitchen cookware” already has 36,000 likes and almost 20,000 retweets.

Among some of the comments include one Twitter user who said “Take your site down. This is an insult to Mexican culture along with all the other cultures you’re profiting off. Our culture is not your home decor!”

Another user tweeted, “…not of them is brown so it should really be named stolen culture because they’re selling fancy versions of things traditional to Mexican culture. Having one is fine, profiting off of a minority or their culture is not fine.”

While at least one person pointed out that the people who craft these items have long been taken advantage of. In a tweet, she said “Culturally we’ve been taught that our incredible craft and culture are worth close to nothing for years now, I really wish we could just collectively erase this mindset but at this point it’s so deeply rooted that thinking differently even feels “wrong” most times.”

Many pointed out that if you want to respect a culture’s food, support actual locals and artesanos.

Shopping online from three women who are not from the communities they’re profiting off of, is now way to support that community. That should be common sense but that site seems to have many customers.

As one Twitter user pointed out, if you really want to support local trabajadores, you should be buying directly from them. Shop in your local flea markets, your Latinx-owned shops and markets, this is how you’ll best help artisans.

The company’s $60 tortilla press was even featured in a Buzzfeed article earlier this year.

In the article, the author points out that the “tortilla press is made in Mexico from old Singer sewing machines and other recycled irons! The cast iron should last you, basically, forever so it’s definitely worth your money.”

That’s all great but where is that money going? How much of the $60 is the Mexican, Moroccan, Thai artisan actually earning from Verve Culture’s sales?

So what is Verve Culture and what do they have to say about all of this?

According to their website, Verve Culture is “a women-run business spanning three generational groups from Baby Boomer, Gen X, to Millennial.” As founders, Jules and Jacquie are a mother and daughter team who have worked together for 27 years.

In the company’s about section, they go on to say, “We are in constant pursuit of life traveled fully.”

“Our vision is to explore the cultural richness of artisans and communities around the world – to educate and inspire, while honoring the traditions and heritage of their work.”

Despite these claims, Twitter has been loud and clear in its message: stop profiting off the backs of already underpaid and overworked artisans from around the world.

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Instead Of Celebrating Her Quince, This Teen Donated It All To Help Victims Of Covid-19

Things That Matter

Instead Of Celebrating Her Quince, This Teen Donated It All To Help Victims Of Covid-19

JiromyXool / Facebook

Few days are as important or as celebrated as a teenager’s 15th birthday. So imagine the level of selflessness one must have to be able to say ‘no, I don’t want any of the celebration, I rather help out my community.’

Well, one teen in Merida, Mexico did just that this week when she told her family ‘thanks, but no thanks’ to her big quince and instead used the money that had been raised for her special day to help out her neighbors who have been impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Her party was canceled thanks to Coronavirus, so she decided to help out those less fortunate.

In many countries across Latin America, the quinceañera is a huge milestone for teenagers. Beautiful dresses, visits from the entire family, big parties, and the best gifts are the norm at most quinces. But for 15-year-old Jiromy Xool Pech, instead of spending money on a lavish birthday celebration, she opted to use her party funds to help feed the needy.

Jiromy and her family had long planned her quinceañera – she had been looking forward to it for years. But with the pandemic hitting her community in Mérida particularly hard, the teen decided to put the party aside and use everything that had been invested in the ceremony to help her neighbors who have been impacted by the pandemic.

“Instead of partying, I prefer to give food to people, to help them with that,” Jiromy told El Universal. Jiromy not only asked to donate the money for her quince to the community, but she was also out there helping distribute the food to her neighbors.

Jiromy and her family weren’t alone in helping out the community either. Much of the food that was given out was prepared from by neighbors and local businesses that came to join Jiromy’s cause once word began to spread.

Unfortunately, many quinceañeras have been canceled or postponed thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Credit: Diego Sanchez / Getty Images

One of Mexico City’s most famous markets for buying quince dresses – el Mercado Lagunilla – has been closed for three months. This ins’t just hating a major impact on dressmakers and salespeople, but it also means that young teens aren’t able to buy the dresses to celebrate their big day.

But not all is completely lost: there are those who have begun to return, like Ximena González, who came with her family to try on dresses. Her quince was scheduled for May 16, but the pandemic changed everything, and now they expect it to take place in November.

“I was scared and upset but I had to accept it. Some friends can no longer go because they are moving,” she told El Universal. She added, “I hope that when it is my party the infections have gone down and that everything is done as if nothing had happened.”

Mexico has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, including Jiromy’s hometown of Merida.

Jiromy’s selfless act to help her community comes as Mexico continues to see record breaking numbers of cases. Tens of thousands are dying and even more are losing their jobs and being forced back into poverty.

As of August 6, Mexico has more than 456,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 49,698 people have died from the virus. In Jiromy’s state of Yucatan, there have been more than 10,000 cases of the virus and it’s had a huge impact on tourism, which is a major economic force in the state. Therefore, it makes sense that the 15-year-old thought it was important to use the money raised for her party to help those who are suffering financially.

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