Dress and dance

Hispanic Student Organization hosts cultural rite of passage

The Ferris State University Hispanic Student Organization (HSO) hosted its first ever Quinceañera in the University Center on Friday, Sept. 30.

A Quinceañera is a celebration of a young Latina woman’s right of passage once they reach the age of 15. Along with the HSO, the Quinceañera was co-sponsored by the Center for Latin@ Studies and the Office of Multicultural Student Services (OMSS). The event began at 5 p.m. and concluded just before midnight.

Ferris architecture student and Hispanic Student Organization (HSO) president Daniel Rivera oversaw the organization of the Quinceañera.

“We wanted to educate others on traditions that are cherished by our culture. We wanted to teach students that these traditions are important to us and it would be a great way to get our name out there and have a good time,” Rivera said.

The guest of honor for the evening was Ferris student Maria Alvarado. Alvarado acted as the Quince for the celebration.

One of the main symbols of a Quinceañera is the color of the dress, which is often chosen by the girl or the mother based on favorite color and styles. Alvarado sported a solid purple gown.

The beginning of the program featured a PowerPoint presentation curated by members of HSO that detailed the background and key elements in a Quinceañera.

Alvarado was introduced as “Princess of the Day,” crowned, given La Ultima Muñeca (The last doll) and danced the Waltz with the four court of honor members. After this, Alvarado changed into a shorter dress and danced a “surprise dance” with one member of the court. Once the surprise dance concluded, the lights were turned off, the party lights were turned on and the celebration transitioned into a period of open dance. Everyone was on their feet and participated in the Cha Cha Slide.

It was a tough challenge for Rivera and other members of the HSO to keep the organization afloat, let alone organize a grand celebration like this one.

“It was our first time doing an event like this first and foremost and we had to find a way to raise money,” Rivera said

Rivera, only a sophomore and already president, had to work diligently just to increase the number of members in HSO.

“Last year, we had about five members and now we increased our number to 16 members this year,” Rivera said. He added, “There was a need of e-board positions my freshman year and to prevent the organization from going away, a few of us freshman decided to take on those leadership roles.”

The first Quinceañera was a hit for all students who attended and the Hispanic Student Organization hopes that it can become an annual event.