While we wait for a renter for our house, we have reason to visit Peru once again. You might remember Mónica from this post. On February 5th, Mónica and Ursula will share in a joint quinceañero. This is a really big deal for these girls, and being there for this celebration is one of the things I signed on for when I said “yes” to being Mónica’s padrino last January. I’m posting excerpts from a description of the fiesta on this site.

The ‘Quinceañera’ … is, in some Spanish-speaking regions of the Americas, a young woman’s celebration of her fifteenth birthday, which is celebrated in a unique and different way from her other birthdays. In some countries, such as Puerto Rico or Peru, the word ‘Quinceañero’ is used instead of Quinceañera when referring to the celebration.

Mónica and Ursula

The origin of the tradition is disputed as there are many theories; the most common found is that the Quinceañera began as a blended tradition between the Spanish conquerors as they mixed with the native people in Mexico. They blended the coming of age traditions and ceremonies of the native people with their religion.

In Peru, the parties may vary depending on many factors, like socio-economic levels. Regardless of how much money is spent, every person dresses elegantly for the party and there may be extravagant decorations. Usually the quinceañera goes down a staircase while a song she had chosen is being played.

Scott, Mónica, and Leslie

Then, she goes to the dancing area, where she dances a waltz with her father, godfather and/or grandfather.

Then she may dance with her boyfriend, the chamberlain (”chambelán”), to a waltz or song of her choice. If she does not have a boyfriend, she may choose somebody special, or throw a bouquet, in which case the boy who catches it may dance with her.

After the quinceañera’s dances, everyone at the party may dance. Since modern music is used, there is a modern party atmosphere with formal dress.


This should be a fun visit. They think they’re going to teach me to dance a waltz. I hope for Mónica’s sake that they can. While we’re in Arequipa, we’re hoping that Reynaldo, the maintenance man/bus driver, can find time to show us the house that he’s found for us, just a couple of miles from Torre Fuerte. If we get a chance to take a look at it, we’ll be sure to post some pictures here.

Pray for us, when you think of us, that both our actions and our words may be a blessing to all of those at Torre Fuerte.

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