Hispanic Student Orginization’s quinceañera

Celebrating a classic Hispanic tradition

The Hispanic Student Organization dressed in vivid party attire to celebrate Hispanic culture, where members and friends learned about the traditional quinceñera, danced to Latin music and opened it’s arms to the community.

On Friday, April 14, the IRC connector was filled with pastel colored balloon decor, which set the mood for the night. This party offered an introduction ceremony that taught the cultural aspects behind the event, a dance floor, food and drinks and colorful tapestries for photo opportunities.

A quinceañera is a ceremony that is held for a Hispanic girl’s fifteenth birthday. It represents the young girl becoming a young woman. A quinceañera is an important celebration because it is a chance for a girl to truly express herself and reach for her dreams while being supported by loved ones and friends.

From left to right; Alondra Reyna, Alondra Campos and Valeria Gonzalez demonstrate a traditional quinceañera dance. Photo by: Jordan Wilson| Torch Photographer

The HSO’s event was different from a traditional quinceañera. The inspiration for this particular event was to educate others on Hispanic culture. HSO President Alondra Reyna was one of four quinceañeras that were a part of the quinceañera court. Although each of them already had a quinceañera of their own, they wanted others to have this experience.

“A lot of people get pushed away by the word Hispanic,” Reyna said. “The reality is we want everyone in our space, and the only reason why we carry the HSO is that our goal is to introduce everyone to this Hispanic space and view.”

Members of the quinceañera court, led by Reyna, walked in one at a time with their chambelans, their escorts, by their side, and each performed a dance on their own. They then all joined together to perform a waltz dance number, which is a classic quinceañera tradition. Members of the HSO, friends and family danced the night away after enjoying food and cake.

Reyna decided on reintroducing this event because many of the Latino and Latina students that she has met haven’t had the chance to experience Hispanic culture firsthand.

“Some of us have lost our identity growing up in places where we didn’t get to celebrate our heritage,” Reyna said. “Some of the Latino and Latina students haven’t ever been to a quinceañera or had their own quinceañera, and that’s part of our culture. We are supposed to experience those things.”

This is the first time the HSO has hosted their quinceañera in over two years, so Reyna wanted to make it an opportunity for others outside of the HSO to get involved.

“This is an event for the whole community,” Reyna said. “I want to see everyone getting involved. It’s all about having fun and meeting new people. Exploring a new community can be shocking sometimes. Each community is vastly different, and sometimes that pushes people away from feeling like they would belong in that space. We want everyone to learn our dances and join in with us.”

Alejandro Garrido-Pacheco, an HSO member and Reyna’s chambelan, supported Reyna throughout the night. He enjoyed being there for her.

“I enjoy getting to dress up and share something that has already happened for her, but now I get to be a part of her quinceañera again,” Garrido-Pacheco said.

Garrido-Pacheco believes that having a quinceañera party like this is an inviting way to represent and teach Hispanic culture.

“This event shows a portion of Hispanic culture to a lot of different people and communities in an exciting way,” Garrido-Pacheco said. “We can definitely represent that with a social gathering, where we can all intermingle and learn about each other as the night goes on.”

HSO social media chair Cynthia Baeza didn’t think she would have a second quinceañera. She loved being able to put her dress back on and have the time to share that feeling with others.

“It’s a way to relive my quinceañera,” Baeza said. “I never thought I would wear my dress again, so it’s really cool to be a part of it and share it with my friends.”

Baeza takes pride in her Hispanic identity. She recognizes that having this event not only acknowledges her background, but also brings more diversity to campus.

“This is the perfect type of event because it’s more of a party. It’s fun, and it’s a good way to honor our heritage,” Baeza said. “It’s an amazing experience to reintroduce our culture on campus, and it’s something some people may have never even heard of. We wanted to share it with others, and it’s nice to be able to bring that cultural aspect to Ferris.”

Alondra Campos, sisterhood chair of Gamma Phi Omega International Sorority and an HSO member, also never thought she would put her quinceañera dress on again. The atmosphere of the quinceañera itself is what she credits for bringing everyone closer together, and she enjoys the different take on the traditional event.

“This event is full of community, love, passion and music,” Campos said. “You can feel the love in the air, and the community bond is there when everyone is together. Typical quinceañeras have only one quinceañera, so having four and seeing all the different colors and how it has changed overtime is really nice.”

Campos believes that there can be a lack of social awareness throughout the vast number of communities the Ferris campus has to offer. She believes that hosting events like this will spread cultural awareness and connect everyone, which is a main goal of the HSO.

“It’s definitely something the community needed, so I think it’s something that should continue on moving forward,” Campos said. “I think just to kind of spread cultural awareness throughout campus, especially since we aren’t a very diverse campus. Having things like this and showing what other cultures do to celebrate is very eye opening. It’s a great way to get everyone involved.”

The HSO will continue to host more events and plans on hosting a quinceañera again. To stay up to date with these events, refer to the HSO’s Instagram account @hso_fsu.