The quinceanera is a young Hispanic woman's celebration of her fifteenth birthday. This birthday is celebrated differently from other birthdays. The quinceanera is considered to be the most important birthday as it symbolizes the transition from childhood to womanhood. This event is usually celebrated with an elaborate ritual. Here is a description of Elsis’ quinceanera, which took place November 26, 2005.

Celebration of the quinceanera

An elaborate ritual is executed to celebrate the quinceanera. The celebration begins with a Thanksgiving mass (Misa de Acción de Grácias). At this mass, the quinceanera is accompanied by a head chamberlain (chambelan), several other chamberlains, maids of honor (damas), her parents, and godparents (padrinos). The quinceanera, chamberlains, and maids are all dressed in formal attire, but the quinceanera is uniquely dressed while the chamberlains and maids are in matching attire. Sometimes the head chamberlain is dressed uniquely as well to distinguish him from the rest of the chamberlains. At this mass, the quinceanera, along with the rest of her family and friends, thank God for all their blessings.

After the mass, a feast usually follows either at the family's home or at a banquet hall. At this feast there is food and dancing. Special party favors (recuerdos) are distributed to the guests to remember this special event. During this feast a celebration dance is performed. It usually includes a choreographed waltz with the quinceanera, the chamberlains and maids of honor. In this waltz it is customary to have a portion dedicated to symbolizing the transition from childhood to womanhood. In this special dance there is also a portion dedicated for the quinceanera to thank her father, and other relatives, with a dance.

Elsis had to do alot of work for this event, including photo shooting, dance practicing. It took a year to plan, and Elsis was cooperative and excited.

Elsis has classic MSUD. She was diagnosed when she was 9 days old and was really in a critical condition. She had to get dialysis and all the other medical interventions, and stayed in the Hospital for about 2 months.

Now Elsis is getting ready to go Forrest Park High School, 9th Grade. She enjoys playing games on the computer and enjoys her game boy. She also has a brother. His name is Anthony (2 years old) and she really enjoys helping take care of him. Anthony does not have MSUD. Even though Elsis did her Spanish celebration, now she is looking forward to her sweet 16th which is also part of her, because she was born in America, in Alexandria, VA.


The MSUD Family Support Group is currently funding several research projects and we are proactively looking for researchers interested in developing new treatments or finding a cure for MSUD. Significant funding is necessary if we are to accomplish this goal.
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