Recently Andrea and I were invited to our first Quinceañera, or Sweet 15 party thrown for a Mexican girl on her 15th birthday. This was a big deal for us, because it's a big deal for Gringos to be invited to any big social event here, and in Sayulita, which is basically run by 5 families, it is even more of a big deal, so we were stoked. My Buddy Ramon, who built our house, was the proud Papa, and we were honored to be there. Now, this is no usual little party, this is like a freakin' wedding (and we know weddings!). There were easily 200 people there, with food and drink to keep all guests full, and drunk (no small feat in Mexico, my friends). I thought I would share some of the odd and interesting details of the day for those of you who are new to this tradition. The party took place at a ranch near Sayulita, and the minute you walked in, you were handed a bottle of Tequila, which naturally made me feel right at home. Next either Ramon or his wife brought you each a plate of traditional Birria (pulled pork delight lathered in lard... delicious!) and a bucket of beer - they seemed to be doing all the serving, which must be tradition. For the rest of the day, you were never without food or drink. Setting up was a huge 12 piece "ranchero" band, with a lighting set up to rival an early Motley Crue. On the list of uncomfortabley weird moments was when the band was starting to play, they - in broken english - asked if we were enjoying our Coronas - a clear comment on us being Gringos (2 of the only 4 whiteys there, btw), and must have been a joke. Odd to say the least. It was then we noticed that they had brought us Coronas, but almost all the Mexicans were drinking Pacifico. It doesn't seem like a big thing, but naturally i asked for Pacifico next round! When the "Ceremony" started, it was crazy - it literally was like a full wedding. Lots of pagentry, the parents walking the girl around to show her off, there were full attendants, 6 boys and 6 girls, in full formal wear, which later did a big orchestrated dance that they had to have practiced for days. Much of the ceremony was about saying goodbye to the little girl, and hello to the Woman...the 15 year old woman, that is. The last of things, you could say. There was a big swing in the middle of the courtyard, and the parents had to give her a last swing, the girl was wearing flats, and the dad had to change her shoes when on the swing into heels, he gave her her last dolly, and she had to beat her last pinata, and could take a dance with every man that asked (creepy!)... among other things. Really nutty. They had an anouncer for the entire thing, like at an auction, so there was play by play the entire ceremony! We left a number of hours in, but we hear the real party started later, and went well into the morning. I dont know how I feel about a 15 year old girl being considered a woman in the eyes of all, but I sure do dig the party!