A Photojournalistic Look at a Quinceneara

My family and I had been in youth ministry for quite some time when we move to the Coachella Valley in 2013 and started working with kids from the migrant farm worker community.  It wasn’t long before I was asked to photograph a quinceneara.  A quince is a the celebration of a Hispanic girl turning 15.  There’s a ton of tradition tied into and a lot of family pride on display.

A traditional quinceneara can be as expensive as a wedding with the dress, court and party all part of the day.  I have another post on the quince here, but this one to me was what really captured the day.  I took the liberty of editing in BW only for this view.  I love the behind the scenes look at all of it.

quince dress

putting on the quince dress

quinceneara getting ready

The dress is important to say the least.  It really does feel like a wedding for a 15 year old.

quinceneara hairstyle

quince tiara

mariachi on the street

mariachi and quince

quinceneara family walking

live mariachi

mariachi drummer

mariachi horns

mexican men in cowboy hats

The party is serenaded as they walk down the street to the venue.  It was easily 98 degrees that day, no breeze.  After the walk, the birthday girl gets an additional musical interlude before entering the party.  People on the street stop to watch and listen.

quinceneara mecca, ca

quinceneara on a budget

mariachi tuba player

It’s amazing that an empty dirt lot can quickly turn into a lively party.

But before all that can start, there’s the traditionally Catholic service, heavy in tradition.

happy priest at quince mass

dad at mass

friends praying

quince mass

Huge pots of barbacoa, beans and rice!

mom serving food at quinceneara

photo of barbacoa at a quinceneara

And mariachi

mariachi mecca, ca

Kicking up some dust…literally

cupid shuffle

dancing at a party

the quinceneara traditional court dance

There’s such an awesome smashing of generations and you can watch kids learn from their primos and primas.

hispanic men

kids dancing at a quinceneara

night photography outdoors

And just as the heat was at a peak, the ice cream man showed up.

ice cream truck at a quinceneara

Quince’s are beautiful and so rich in tradition.  What an honor to photograph one of own youth group kids!

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