CELEBRATING A QUINCEAÑERA by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith

CELEBRATING A QUINCEAÑERA

A Latina’s 15th Birthday Celebration
Age Range: 9 - 13

KIRKUS REVIEW

Following the pattern of their other collaborations, Hoyt-Goldsmith and Migdale (Celebrating Ramadan, 2001, etc.) invite the reader to join a family and a whole community as they celebrate an important occasion in the life of a 15-year-old Mexican-American girl. The engaging photo essay details all the stages in the quinceañera celebration that involves a religious ceremony and a gala dance. Aztec, Roman Catholic, and European traditions are interwoven in the rite of passage still celebrated in Mexico and Mexican-American communities alike. Although in earlier times, the 15th birthday was an occasion for a young woman to make a decision between a secular life and a life consecrated to religious duties, it is now a time for reflection about childhood and the adult life she will lead. A special Mass is held and a large party with a corte de honor of 14 young men and women is planned with the help of many friends and relatives. This court may be linked to the 19th century, when the Austrians Maximilian and Carlota ruled as emperor and empress of Mexico for a short time and imported European traditions, such as fancy dress balls. Today’s young people, in long dresses and tuxedos, perform complex dances reminiscent of the past before they start doing today’s dances. The crisp, clear photos show Cynthia, a California teenager, and her family as they begin to plan the celebration. Her young cousin Ariana and her family are also very involved with the plans and the close relationship between the two families is highlighted. With its mix of family celebration, explanations of cultural and religious traditions, and glimpse into the everyday life of the large Mexican-American community, this is a very attractive way to introduce a major American ethnic group. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 30th, 2002
ISBN: 0-8234-1693-3
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Holiday House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2002




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