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May 29, 2008
By Abby Metty

The swelling Hispanic population in North Carolina brings not only new members to a community, but also their new traditions and culture.

One such tradition is that of the quinceañera, Quinceañeras, also known as “Quince Años” or “Mis Quinces,” are celebrations of growth and womanhood for Latinas when they turn 15. A combination of Aztec and Spanish traditions that originated in Central and South America, quinceañeras are a symbolic passage into adulthood and responsibility. They involve preparatory classes, a mass or other Christian service, and a party similar to a wedding reception. Quinceañeras are an opportunity for young women to demonstrate their commitment to the church, their families, and their purity as they mature.

Abril Rodriguez and Michel Rodriguez are two young women in Durham, N.C., who recently commemorated this occasion. Their families and friends gathered around them on the day of their celebration to support them and recognize the change in their lives.

Abby Metty is a senior in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is interning at the News & Observer.


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