“I couldn't believe something like this could happen to me. The date of my quinces was Nov. 12, 2011, the theme was masquerade, and the venue was The Doral Resort and Spa. I waited with anticipation for my party, eager to have all my family with me celebrating my birthday. After getting my make-up done, I arrived at the resort in a limo feeling just like a movie star with all the cameras flashing around me. When I finally walked into the ballroom for my big entrance I was in disbelief. It looked like a dream come true! The food was absolutely delicious! There was arroz con pollo, maduros, mariquitas, and croquetas. The music was great, the dance floor was full of people throughout the entire night. The whole party was truly a success, and I'm sure everyone plus myself had a blast!”
Yazmin Perez, 16, of Miami, danced throughout the night with friends and family last year.
“I celebrated my quince at North Trail Park. I had a red wine quince dress because I wanted to break out of the usual. My party theme was Arabian Nights, and we invited about 60 to 70 guests, who were mostly all close friends and family. My brother walked me into the party then I danced with my father to the song ‘ Cartas A Mi Princesa.’ I then danced with my grandfather to ‘ La Niña De Mi Ojos.’ The food was a typical Cuban menu. After dinner, I took pictures with my guests. I had a great time and we went on dancing. I thanked my grandparents for giving me such a great party and the time invested in it.”
Dulce María Castilla, 76, of Miami, took her quince photos in 1952.
“I had a luncheon at our club in Havana, Casino Español, for all my girlfriends. I then had my quince picture at Alembert Studio, one of the most expensive society photographers at the time. My dress was a tea color lace and tulle couture by my aunt Felisa Zanón, a well-known seamstress. Even though I did not have a quince ball, I did want a quince long gown and photo as a keepsake of this very traditional occasion.”
Rachel Gibert, 22, of Pembroke Pines, decided to take her quince portraits and travel to Cuba in 2005.
“I celebrated my quinces in a small backyard get-together with family and friends. I opted not to have a big party even though my mother really wanted me to. I did take my pictures, however. We had croquettas, pastelitos and bocaditos as well as your traditional Cuban food. It was small and intimate, and I had a good time sharing that moment with family and close friends. In the summer of my quinces, my parents and I traveled to Cuba so my family could see the pictures and also have a chance to celebrate with me at my family’s house in Havana.”
Anacely Labrada, 49, of Miami, remembers her birthday in 1978.
“In July of 1978, I was turning 15 and my grandmother who lived in New York passed away July 20. I had no celebration because we were in mourning, but I did have the quince pictures at Hialeah Race Track. I remember at that time I would eat my nails and they would say ‘hide your hands.’ My parents later took me shopping and then to dinner. I still remember that day. It’s a special time for any young girl. It’s a tradition that is disappearing, and it’s a shame.”