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Quinceñeras make a return following pandemic pause

The festive tradition can rack up a price tag with the average dress ranging from $900 to $1,300.

SAN DIEGO — Quinceñeras are one of the most celebrated birthdays for young girls who are turning 15. It’s a coming-of-age celebration that marks a milestone in a young girl’s life.

The tradition is celebrated mainly in the Hispanic culture. It's seen throughout Latin America, the Caribbean and among Latino communities in the United States.

Osmar Martinez, owner and designer of Cynderella Brides in Chula Vista, says the custom has grown a significant amount in the U.S.

"I see this tradition continuing and growing a lot more," said Martinez.

Martinez says due to the pandemic most families were unable to hold their quinceñera so many are starting to celebrate once again.

"Things have picked up pretty fast I think there was a huge delay of parties that were delayed. The events are being planned again. People are – they want to have a celebration, for two years they were on lockdown and now we want to be with our loved ones and celebrate and rejoice in our traditions and keep our traditions alive," added Martinez.

Anali Rubio-Simpson and Monique Tovar had to postpone their quince due to COVID-19. The pair planned their events in 2019 and were able to celebrate in 2021.

"It’s a huge decision whether you want to have a quince so it was something I'd been waiting for. I just wanted my family, the dress, the party and for everyone to have fun cause after this pandemic it was like, am I going to have a quince or not..." said Rubio-Simpson.

"We had to postpone it to 2021 which I'm happy for because my family all my family was able to show up," said Tovar.

For both, their quinceñeras were an opportunity for their mothers to celebrate as well.

"My mom especially, she was super excited that I wanted to have a quinceñera, she didn't have one herself. So planning was like her coming to life to it was her dream, seeing me having a quinceñera. So it made me super proud as well," said Rubio-Simpson.

Quinceñeras can vary according to one’s culture and ethnicity, each country celebrates a bit differently. For some, it can be both religious and a social gathering and for others it’s all about family and the party.

No matter how you chose to celebrate, one thing that’s common for all -dresses.

"Right now what's really popular this year, it's the hunter green dresses were going for the dark colors right now. Before was like the white quince dress, right now, there's like the dark green dress is really popular...we got the reds, and trains, train into long trains, floral patterns with blades, this is very in right now with long cape as well," said Martinez.

On average the dresses alone can range from $900 to $1,300, making quinceñeras a costly celebration.

"A high-end quinceñera party event...you’re looking at probably anywhere closely to $25,000 to $30,000," added Martinez. 

Despite the costly expenses, Martinez says he believes the tradition is only getting stronger.

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