© 2024 Western New York Public Broadcasting Association

140 Lower Terrace
Buffalo, NY 14202

Mailing Address:
Horizons Plaza P.O. Box 1263
Buffalo, NY 14240-1263

Buffalo Toronto Public Media | Phone 716-845-7000
WBFO Newsroom | Phone: 716-845-7040
Your NPR Station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Donate Today Banner

In Mexico, A Father's Invitation For Daughter's Quinceañera Goes Viral


It started off as a sincere, open invitation from a proud father - come to his daughter's quinceanera, or 15th birthday party. But then he put it on the internet. It went viral, and it became the butt of many jokes in Mexico. As of now, more than a million people say they will be there for his daughter Rubi's coming-of-age celebration. But as NPR's Carrie Kahn reports, it may be the family that has the last laugh.

CARRIE KAHN, BYLINE: It was a simple invitation from a humble family deep in Mexico's heartland.


CRESCENCIO IBARRA: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "Hi, how's it going?" starts Rubi Ibarra's dad, wearing jeans and a black cowboy hat, standing with his wife wrapped in a pink shawl, their smiling daughter in the middle. In the short video uploaded to Rubi's Facebook page, Dad finishes with an innocent flourish - all are invited. Cue the internet.


GAEL GARCIA BERNAL: (Speaking Spanish).


GARCIA BERNAL: (Speaking Spanish).


KAHN: The jokes have been nonstop, poking fun at Pop's wide open invite, customary in small towns and pueblos, like this video by Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal. There are memes galore, too, like all the world's stadiums packed with Rubi's guests and one with Donald Trump peering over a border wall begging for an invite. Rubi has made nonstop TV appearances.


RUBI IBARRA: (Speaking Spanish).

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: (Speaking Spanish).


KAHN: And there's plenty of product placements, too. One airline discounted tickets to her home state of San Luis Potosi. Designers sent free dresses. Multi-tiered cakes have been promised. And Spotify uploaded a Rubi quince playlist chock-full of dance favorites.


KAHN: This is the biggest thing to hit Rubi's town, Villa de Guadalupe, with more cattle than the 140 residents, says Mayor Raul Castillo Mendoza.

RAUL CASTILLO MENDOZA: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "It's put us on the map, for sure," says Castillo. The local hotel with maximum capacity 15 is booked. He's called on neighboring towns to help with security - his force only has two patrol cars. I asked Castillo why he thinks Rubi's bash has gained so much attention, thinking maybe Mexicans just need some good light news given the plunge in the peso and the rise in violence.

CASTILLO MENDOZA: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "Nah," he says, after some pondering, "most are coming for the 10,000-peso prize for the amateur horse race, the party's big event," he says. And that gets a laugh further south in Mexico's mega-capital where Rubi's quince is talk of the town, radio and TV. At the huge Jamaica Flower Mart, vendor Daniel Hernandez prepares arrangements for an upcoming wedding.

DANIEL HERNANDEZ: (Speaking Spanish).

KAHN: "I think it's something the government is pulling off to distract us from all their corruption and lies," says Hernandez. "Besides," he adds to his argument, "it's not really time for quinceaneras. It's wedding season, with people full of their Christmas bonuses and vacation time."

Regardless, the party is going ahead as planned on December 26. Rubi's uncle has cleared a nearby field and is setting up tents. They're going for around 250 pesos a night. It's extra, though, if you need an inflatable mattress and sleeping bag.

Carrie Kahn, NPR News, Mexico City. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Carrie Kahn is NPR's International Correspondent based in Mexico City, Mexico. She covers Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. Kahn's reports can be heard on NPR's award-winning news programs including All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Weekend Edition, and on NPR.org.