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ICYMI: Barrera celebrates quinceañera with tradition and style

Emilie Barrera knew for a long time that she wanted to celebrate her 15th birthday in the traditional, Hispanic way. For her, that meant a quinceañera.

Her mother, Kimberly Barrera, wanted to make sure that Emlie understood what that entailed. And so, in the year leading up to the milestone birthday, Emilie researched the quinceañera and spent time writing about what it is and what it means to her.

Emilie, the only daughter that Eddy and Kimberly Barrera share, was far more excited about what her quinceañera meant to both her faith and her culture than she was about the dress and party that traditionally accompany such a celebration.

“This is about me making a public declaration about my faith and what it means to me, in front of both sides of my family and my friends,” Emilie explained.

She also wanted a celebration and recognition of her traditional Hispanic heritage, which she says has always been important to her.

The service for Emilie’s quinceañera, though steeped in tradition, had to be adjusted to fit better within the family’s faith. Typically, a quinceañera involves a Catholic mass. The Barreras worked with Barbee Memorial Presybeterian Church Pastor Dan Clark, and were able to produce a quinceañera that was both traditional in its Hispanic origins and true to their own faith.

The traditional elements included a court, so Emilie chose eight girls and six boys, for a court of fourteen, representing one for each year of her life. Dressed in a stunning gown of pale gold with her dark hair piled under an elaborate tiara, Emilie was escorted by childhood friend, Noah Dotson

Emilie Barrerra

Emilie displays her sneakers, which she traded out for high heels as the ceremony progressed, marking her transition to womanhood.

, who was a member of the chosen court. The two have known each other since the age of five.

Traditional symbolic gifts were also presented to Emilie. Earrings were given as a reminder to always listen to God. A necklace was given as a reminder that “life is full of surprises.”

Emilie’s father presented her with symbolic high heels. Upon giving Emilie the shoes — an act which marks a transition from childhood to womanhood — he told her, “These shoes symbolize your daily walk.” He added that she is now accountable to God for each step she takes.

Emilie later participated in a ceremony where she traded the high-topped sneakers in which she began the evening, for the high heels gifted to her by her father. This act marked the beginning of her entrance to adulthood.

The Barrera family had over 200 attendees, from states as far away as Indiana, Colorado, and Texas. The religious service was followed by a dinner reception and dance at the Montgomery Event Venue in downtown Excelsior Springs.

By Samantha Kilgore • kimeberely@leaderpress.com

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