Sunday, 19 June 2011
Family family everywhere and a bemused Englishman
I was invited to a Quince Anos Birthday Party by the godmother of the party's subject. In Latin America a girls 15th birthday is extremely important and marks her passing into womanhood. I would rather take the money and go snowboarding for a month or so. In fact the party was very much like a wedding reception with similar amounts of money spent on staging it and yet no groom. I even had instructions to wear a suit in order to blend in. To get a real impression of what this very formal gathering was like I will take you through the festivities step by step. On arrival guests of which there were 150 odd congregated in a room for 'nibbles'. This room was not on the small side and was topped with an ornate chandelier and appeared to me to be the location for the party. Thinking that the food was to last all night, I somewhat over indulged my belly. Little did I know that 30 minutes later we would make our way into the main room where we were seated at allocated tables for dinner. The 15 year old dressed in green then appeared on the balcony like Liz II to rapturous applause. But that was just a taster to whet the guests appetite since she then appeared through curtains in an arch on the stage and entered like a model on the catwalk. Between the courses of dinner there was a magician (see my impression of being a table), numerous powerpoint presentations of her life to date, dancers in ornate costumes, cake cutting, her thank you speech to people/groups that have been central in her life at which they lit one of the 15 candles and being Latin America considerable dancing at which my lambada and salsa skills were put to good use. The finale of this theatrical extravaganza was when she was lowered down on a swing/chair thing from the ceiling amongst costumed dancers. I thought that I was at the Rio Carnival. At 0630 the lights went on and I joined the revelers turning out from the local nightclubs to make my weary way home. I had had a great time and now appreciate how family, parties etc are very important to the Latin American culture.