A short drive to OKC on Saturday gave me the opportunity to experience my first ever Quinceanera mass and fiesta. My friend Ariana asked me to take pictures at the quinceanera, which signified her god daughter Reyna's entrance into womanhood, and I accepted. I'm glad I did. The experience proved rather interesting and I had a great time trying to speak Spanish and being obviously not one of the locals.
The ceremony starts with mass. It was all in Spanish and I felt a bit awkward roaming about during the service being one of three gringos in the house. In the end I decided it was only as awkward as I let it be, so I just rolled with it and didn't think about my contrasting cracker complexion and anglo-saxon roots. It's interesting how quickly one can feel alienated when detached from familiar surroundings. I think it's good to experience this isolation.
The mass was at an all-Spanish-all-the-time Catholic church in OKC, which interestingly employs a priest of east indian descent. Partway through the mass he launched into heavily accented english at which point I readily discerned his country of origin. I could barely understand some of what he said and I'm thinking a lot of the latinos picked up even less.
We took some more pics near the Myriad Gardens in OKC after the mass. I quickly realized that wedding-esque photography would be required of me and curbed my initial impulse to cease all photomaking immediately on principle. Thankfully the experience was enjoyable and the pomp and circumstance kept to a minimum during the session at the park. I'd shoot another Quinceanera, but I could not handle doing a wedding. In this genre I feel like every picture I take is cliche'. Perhaps I'm just a photojournalist snob at heart...
Some charming little ninos were chomming on these fried pretzelish things after the mass. I don't remember what they're called.
The fiesta lit up about five and there was plenty of amazing food, beer, tequila and dancing to go around. This is the traditional first dance with all the damas and chambelanes surrounding the couple of honor.
There were plenty of very friendly locals at the fiesta. And very little Ingles being spoken. I liked the atmosphere of multiple generations mingling and enjoying quality time with one another. Despite my lack of street cred and shady Espanol skills I felt very welcome and comfortable.
Did I mention the food was crazy good? Massive vats held untold amounts of the pork, rice, beans and CORN tortillas. I was good for two plates of these vittles and wanted more though my estomago told me otherwise. Classic American suds were also in quick supply. I went for a pair of brews before getting the cheap-beer shudders toward the bottom of my second Bud. What can you do?
But all in all a choice meal and evening. If you have the chance to check out a Quinceanera you should strap on a bolo tie and cowboy hat and boots and make it happen. You won't be disappointed.