Where’s the Quince Girl?


IMG_3894                                                         Our Invitation

Alba Lugia’s prom-like gown was the highlight of her quinceañera tradition, but it wasn’t the only fancy dress featured in the celebration. Quinceañera custom calls for 14 damas, or maiden attendants, to accompany the quince girl and symbolize the past 14 years of her life. Then, each dama needs an escort, which means the quince girl must select 15 chambelans, or male attendants in suits or tuxedos.

Extensive preparation included lots of powder puffing…
IMG_0915applying lipstick…
IMG_0918Holding still…
IMG_0933Buckets of hair gel…
IMG_0936And patience while waiting for the quince girl…”Are you ready, yet?” he texts into the next room.
IMG_0905“My aunt is helping me with the final touches,” she texts back.
IMG_0924Awwww…she’s gorgeous…and so much pink!
IMG_0939A beautiful smile...
IMG_0943Let the procession begin!
IMG_0950

The Party Theory in Nicaragua


Life is a party. In Nicaragua, the whole point of being alive is to have fun. Have a blast (literally)…whatever it takes. For Hispanic girls, the 15th birthday, or quinceañera, explains the party theory in preparing for the most lavish celebration of their lives. The quinceañera represents a young girl’s journey from childhood to maturity. It highlights God, family, food, friends, music, and dance. And the food….oh my, the food! It must have taken weeks of preparation.

The food preparations for Alba Lugia’s quinceañera included slaughtering a cow, a pig, and many chickens. When we arrived with our 20 gallons of Jamaica/Rum punch more than a dozen cooks in the outdoor kitchen were busy grating…
IMG_0847chopping…
IMG_0848boiling…
IMG_0851marinating…
IMG_0852peeling…
IMG_0932plucking…
IMG_0854and grilling.
IMG_0935The preparations included painting their house pink, blowing up hundreds of pink and purple balloons, ordering hundreds of plastic chairs and tables, and installing giant speakers and disco lights.
IMG_0901Ever’s professional cake-making mother baked a fancy, five-tiered cake in her adobe oven.
IMG_0897All that remained was to wait for quince girl princess to arrive. Then, the party could begin.
IMG_0899For what’s a party without a princess? The party theory in Nicaragua is alive and flourishing. Life is really a party in Nicaragua!

Stay tuned for Part Two: Quinceañeras Traditions

 

Day of the Dead in Nicaragua


“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
― Mark Twain

November 2nd is Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Nicaragua, when the cemeteries fill with family members decorating, cleaning, and painting the crypts of their loved ones. It’s a time to celebrate the dearly departed. Theresa and I walked to the Moyogalpa cemetery early this morning with flowers for our dead friends. We passed people with hoes, buckets of paint, brooms, and flowers…lots and lots of flowers.

IMG_3785The grave sites are picked clean of all weeds and the soft volcanic soil is raked. Then, they wash the crypts and apply a new coat of paint. Finally, family members and friends place beautiful flowers, little handmade skeletons, candy, and other bling-bling on the graves.

We walked along the paths admiring the variety of decorations, the arrangement of flowers, and the beautifully tiled and painted crypts. Even the poorest families, who couldn’t afford to make a crypt, lovingly placed flowers over the hills of dirt protecting their loved ones.

Theresa and I were looking for Jerry’s grave, the only foreigner buried in the Moyogalpa cemetery. We hadn’t been back to visit the cemetery since Jerry’s burial, so we couldn’t remember the exact location. Roaming workers directed us to the spot under the large Jicote tree shading his beautifully tiled crypt.
IMG_3800After a little chat with Jerry, and placing some flowers on his grave, we searched for Jose’s grave. “Excuse me,” I asked, but can you help us find Jose’s grave?” “He died 3 years ago. He was 24 years old and he worked at our house.”  Friendly and helpful Nicaraguans helped us search for Jose, but there were hundreds of Jose’s in the cemetery and we didn’t know his last name.   Some said he is buried in this dirt covered grave, but we didn’t know for sure. I placed my flowers beside the grave, and told Jose how much I missed him.
IMG_3805It was a lovely dia de muerte. R.I.P Jerry and Jose.