While every culture has its own coming-of-age ritual, quinceañeras are quintessentially Latinx, with various Latin American countries holding on to their own distinct (and sometimes very sparkly) take on the festivities. Because it’s such a rich topic, Latino USA has devoted an entire episode to quinceañeras, and poses an interesting question about this coming-of-age party: “Is it a more radical expression of brown girl self-love than we give it credit for?”
Here’s a little teaser of what you can expect:
In the episode, producer Antonia Cereijido follows Hailey Alexis and her family as they prepare for her party:
We go to the LA fashion district to buy the perfect dress, hear from family friends who are struggling to decide whether to give their own daughter a quinceañera, and hear from the self-proclaimed quince lord whose videos blow up on Instagram. In the process we hear about how the quinceañera is seen as a status symbol, a form of female empowerment, a statement about Latinx identity and also just a really fun party.
With so much discussion and dissenting opinions on whether quinceañeras are outdated relics of another or time or a meaningful cultural practice, wastes of money or an empowering coming-of-age event, it’s definitely worth diving into what they represent not only for Latinx culture as a whole, but for the individual teen girls at the center of the festivities.
Latino USA’s quinceañera episode premieres Friday, September 16 on NPR.