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Quinceaneras in Cuba
2006

According to the tradition of Hispanic families of the USA, Central America and some Latin American countries, the girls’ 15th birthday is celebrated.
I followed this rite of passage to adulthood in Havana.
In opposition to Miami where the quinceaneras usually cost between 7000 and 20000 dollars, in Cuba the families do what they can and usually begin saving money for this event on their daughter’s day of birth ( a Quince in Cuba costs around 1000 euros).
The families who can’t afford to organize a party offer their daughter a photo shoot in a studio.
The minimum for a girl is to have a photo album with different outfits. Anisleis’ mother, very poor, had clothes done and could buy the 7 minimum pairs of shoes necessary..
On the opposite, nothing is too beautiful for Mabel, whose father is a limo chauffeur for a tourism company. The party took place in one of the most beautiful hotels of the capital and the photo and video shootings lasted the whole week (all day long).
For the party itself, the girl chooses 5 to 7 of her best friends, who themselves choose a partner. They train to dance every evening after school during 2 months, and do rumbas and waltzes in tuxedos and long dress on D day.
The families rent a place for the party, usually a luxury hotel (like for Rachel) or a ball room (the workers’ palace for Lisbet) and invite at least one hundred guests.
After taking a long time to get ready (with a professional make-up artist), the Quince and her maids of honour cross the city in a convertible limo, sounding the horn, waving to the Havana people who send her kisses shouting “Que guapa !” (you are so beautiful !)

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