Tough economy strains a much-loved (and very costly) Latino tradition, the quinceañera

It is the most important rite of passage for teenage Latinas. When they reach the age of 15, their quinceañera is an over-the-top celebration of a girl’s transition into womanhood complete with elaborate dresses, lavish cakes and decorations, a huge party with food, drinks and music and loads of gifts that can put an Anglo's Sweet 16 party to shame.

The shaky economic situation that has affected many Hispanic families across the U.S. in recent years, however, has put an added financial strain on this already pricey affair.

"Even to do something simple, you have to spend about $5,000," Aylin Santiago, whose niece Jeilany was preparing for her quinceañera told the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer. "Money-wise, it's hard on everybody. That's why people aren't doing it up like they used to." READ MORE AT FOX NEWS LATINO

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