LATIN AMERICA

The 15th birthday party in Mexico that attracted more than a million guests

An invitation to a traditional ‘quinceñera’ in a tiny village unexpectedly went viral

Rubí and her parents at the party.
Rubí and her parents at the party.Mario Guzmán (EFE)

Thanks to the viral spread of news of the event on the social networks, what could have just been another quinceñera – as such 15th-birthday celebrations for girls are known in Mexico – turned out to be a massive, incident-plagued event: two people were trampled by a group of horses during races organized for the party, with one of them left dead and the other hospitalized.

Meanwhile, bikers from a Mexico City chapter, Latinos residing in the US, Mexicans from other states and curious onlookers from the town itself all turned out for the birthday Mass and lunch for this ordinary girl from a rural and isolated community in the center of Mexico.

Bikers from a Mexico City chapter, Latinos residing in the US, Mexicans from other states and curious onlookers from the town itself all turned out for the birthday

“I congratulate all the people and the community because thanks to this event, you are now known in distant corners of the Earth, even in Nepal,” said Alberto Sumarán, a retiree from California who has Mexican origins. Traveling with his wife, Sumarán took a 35-hour bus journey from Los Angeles to get to the party.

In Mexico, quinceñeras are no ordinary celebration. After weddings, they are the most extravagant events celebrated: decorations, gorgeous dresses, lights and music, food and as many guests as possible. But in the case of Rubí, new records were broken. It all started when her father invited the whole town to the party via a Facebook video.

The recording spread like wildfire all over social networks, becoming a media phenomenon in its own right. It inspired jokes and parodies, but also the creation of event invites in Facebook. One of them, created on December 2, attracted as many as 1.2 million confirmations of attendance.

One of the Facebook invites attracted as many as 1.2 million confirmations of attendance

The tiny village, which counts on just a couple dozen houses and is reached by unpaved roads, was chock full of vehicles on Monday, including that of Betty and Claudia Rodríguez, a mother and daughter from Houston, Texas. They reported having spoken to Rubí the morning of the event, who was apparently “happy but nervous.”

A group of 10 bikers, men and women, all dressed in leathers with their names emblazoned on them, also attended. Traveling from Mexico City, they thought that Rubí’s 15th birthday would be the perfect excuse to discover this part of the country, located around six hours from the Mexican capital.

“It was a very viral event, and there have been a lot of bad things in this country,” explained one of the bikers. “But independently of the viral spread of the invite, we have been able to show that at this type of event, we can live alongside other types of people.”

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