“Quinceañeras”: how the US adapted this Mexican tradition and turned it into a million-dollar business


Not even four-decade-high inflation is putting a dent in the cherished tradition of celebrating a girl’s 15th birthday with a lavish quinceañera that includes hundreds of guests, a multi-tier cake, and a live music band.

Some families save for years and pay up to $25,000 for this celebration of a girl transitioning from childhood to adulthood.

The tradition seems to be going stronger out of the pandemic, quinceañera shops and planners said. All related businesses, from photography to dance halls and limousines services, are barely keeping up with demand.

César Alejandro Olmos, the owner of Something Different Events, a Fort Worth-based event planning business, said he’s almost fully booked for the year.

“With everything being expensive, [inflation] impacts us in the sense that we have to adapt to [limited] budgets and look for somewhat cheaper things so that we stay within the price range families are willing to pay,” Olmos said.

“But families do want to spend. They want fiesta!”

Quinceañera dancers

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Dancer Rene Garcia, 20, of Santiago DJ's, performs during this year's Quinceañera Magazine...

A quinceañera is more than merely throwing a birthday party —it is the celebration of a tradition in the Hispanic culture.

Juan and Mary Ríos have saved for years to fulfill that dream of organizing a quinceañera for their daughter Ivanna.

The Oak Cliff couple has budgeted $25,000 to pay for a party with 300 guests in 2024.

“I would invite all of Dallas”, said Juan Ríos, 50, a construction contractor. “I’m kidding. I’m going to invite our relatives, some acquaintances, our closest people because our daughter is very important to me and I have planned for all of that.”

Mary Rios (center), and her husband Juan Rios, speak to Jose Bracamontes, (far left), as the...
Mary Rios (center), and her husband Juan Rios, speak to Jose Bracamontes, (far left), as the Rios family gathered information and quotes from vendors for their daughter’s quinceañera, which is planned for 2024, during the Quinceañera Magazine Expo at the Mesquite Convention Center on Jan. 29. (Ben Torres / Special Contributor)

For Mary Ríos, her daughter’s transition from a teenager to a young woman, begs for a celebration.

“We will throw a party because that’s how we Hispanics celebrate our young ladies, to show society that she’s becoming a young woman,” she said.

Ivanna, 13, is looking forward to the milestone as she starts thinking about life-long decisions. She wants to pursue a career in medicine.

Source: BBC Mundo

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