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Nicaraguan Birthday Traditions

by Samantha
(San Antonio, TX, USA)

My family is from Nicaragua. Our birthdays are always fun to celebrate! The entire family gets together and we eat carne asada, white rice, a Nicaraguan cabbage salad, gallo pinto (rice and beans), and tajadas (fried plantains).

Everyone tells lots of stories and shares family news.

After the meal, the children are rounded up to hit the pinata thats filled with different candies. Cake follows the pinata, and it's always a Nicaraguan custard cake. It is very similar to tres leches with (usually) a guava jelly filling. It's delicious! And the only time of year when we get to eat it.

One birthday which is more grand is the quincenera, a special occasion for young girls turning 15 years of age. It's a rite of passage that is extravagantly celebrated, with every family member and friend invited to the festivities.

For my quincenera, I wore a pink dress, and had both flat shoes and high heel shoes. The party was hosted at a family member's home, which was decorated with hundreds of pink roses, and turned into a dance hall for the occasion. My parents hired both a disc jockey and mariachi band for the evening.

I shared a dance with my mother, my brother, and my father. Afterwards, my dad made a toast and I traded my flat shoes for the high heels, and that symbolized the arrival of my womanhood.

The party lasted until 3 in the morning, everyone singing, dancing, and eating. My quincenera is one of my most cherished memories!

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