Una Quinceañera | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Una Quinceañera

One of my favorite people is Patricia Zermeño, AKA Patti the Plumber. She's a single mom who, after her separation, began supporting herself and her daughter, Cristy, by doing plumbing, primarily for gringos. Two years later, she is a general contractor, building houses with 20 employees.

Cristy and her cousin, Patty (Coincidence? I think not.) are both turning 15 which is a big deal for a young lady. The quinceañera is a ceremony and party to celebrate her quinceaños, or 15th birthday. It marks her passage into womanhood.

Jean and I, and my friend Paul Gross, drove to Lagos de Moreno, about 2½ hours from San Miguel, where the party was to be held. We attended a mass held in the girls' honor, along with about 80 members of Cristy and Patty's family. Grandma cried throughout.

Afterward, we all piled into cars and went to Grandma's house for the secular part of the celebration—the fiesta. There, we ate carnitas that had been prepared by family members, and drank diet cokes. Jean drank her first shot of tequila, biting a lime and licking salt. She liked it. A band, also composed of family members, played loud music. Is there any other kind in Mexico? Cristy wanted a different band because the one she got played old people music. Too bad, kid. You can't have everything.


Cristy's brother, Jose, got leave from the Army to come to her quinceañera. Christy had an elegant dress, and Jose bought a new suit in San Antonio especially for the occasion.

For more pictures, click here.

For uptight gringos, the best part of it all was to participate with a large family of people who truly loved each other. Their affection for one another was patent, and their welcome for us was warm.