2018 - Ongoing
Mexico; United States
Come aboard a quinceañera cruise, where dozens of young Latina women will all celebrate their 15th birthdays together, along with hundreds of their closest friends and relatives.
Heavily unknown to most, the tradition of the quinceañera began in 1400s México as an Aztec rite of passage which deemed females turning 15 as ready for marriage. Traditionally, quince dresses were strictly white and modest, (similar to a wedding gown without the veil) symbolizing their purity and commitment to Catholic ideals. But as this rigid origin differs from the experience of most quinces we see today, it becomes clear that a number of unspoken and undocumented changes have occurred throughout centuries of growth in this tradition.
While quinces have withstood countless transformations through their assimilation to the US, perhaps the most unique, and arguably most American interpretation of this tradition can be found by entering the world of quinceañera cruises. Since the late ‘80s, some families have taken to the seas for these celebrations, pooling their coming-of-age celebrations into a single blowout event. Together they celebrate a mixed bag of ancestral customs and modern re-creations that have a cultured significance unlike any other Latin tradition.
Made over the course of a week within these fleeting communities, this work represents a small culmination of my extensive research conducted on the trailblazing path of the modern quinceañera and its vastly undocumented history.