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Mexico City stages mass 'quinceanera' ball for disadvantaged girls

Mexico City stages mass 'quinceanera' ball for disadvantaged girls

Mexico City's government was making the final preparation Saturday for a mass coming-out ball for about 180 disadvantaged teenagers that otherwise might never get to experience the elaborate "quinceanera" party that young girls here dreams of.
As the start of the ball approached, the participants _ juvenile offenders, orphans, runaways, and girls from poor families _ primped and preened in donated ball gowns and practiced their steps for formal dances. The ball traditionally is held for a girl around her 15th birthday.
"I'm very happy, because this is a tradition which we should all continue," said Rosa Nayeli Lagunes, 14, who showed up for the ball in a deep red taffeta dress with an embroidered white bodice. Fourteen-year-olds who will turn 15 this year were allowed to participate.
The city government also said it planned to showcase sexual and reproductive information at the event, where the keynote speaker was to be a 15-year-old who had a baby at age 13.
Many of the girls spent the day at a city building, doing their hair and applying donated makeup.
"They are excited, with their dreams and their dresses," said Deyanira Moran, an organizer of the event who works as an outreach officer for the city's Youth Institute.
A truck was needed to carry 180 bouquets of roses and lilies and large sacks of rose petals for the event.
Instead of traditional rented carriages, open-top tour buses were sent to ferry the girls to the ball, to be held in the city's main square.
The only thing in short supply were the tuxedo-suited boys _ usually relatives _ known as "chambelanes," who traditionally serve as escorts at such events.
"Not everyone" has an escort, Lagunes said. "We've been sharing them."
Refreshments, transportation, the music the sound system were all donated by the city or private companies.
The traditional rite of passage for girls in Mexican society often rival weddings in their expense and fanfare. The parties have become increasingly popular in the U.S. as the country's Hispanic population grows.
Since taking office in December, leftist city Mayor Marcelo Ebrard has become known for offering free cultural events, including free "urban beaches" at local parks made with pools and trucked-in sand.
City authorities said they have contacted officials of the Guinness Book of World Records, but it was unclear whether any Guinness representative would be on hand to certify the event as the largest of its kind.


Updated : 2021-04-12 10:26 GMT+08:00