Ruby and a Red Dress

Lujan Sisters Explain Quinceanera


Photo Courtesy Esmeralda Lujan

It was a quiet evening in the Lujan household. Rubi was lying back in bed, relaxing for the rest of the night, getting ready to watch Netflix. Rubi Lujan is a 16 year old sophomore at West Geauga High School. Her family is a family of six, including her two older sisters, a younger brother, and her parents. She was born in Chardon, Ohio on August 29th, 2004. Despite being born in the United States, she is of Mexican descent, as her parents originate from there. 

Rubi tells the story of her family and how they ended up in Chesterland, Ohio, far away from where her parents were born. Her mom, 7 months pregnant with older sister Esmeralda and her oldest sister, Lizbeth, emmigrated to the United States in July, 2002. Rubi’s dad, Servando, was waiting for them in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Rubi said that her dad left for the United States 6 years beforehand to find a job in Ohio, legalize his status, and fix papers for himself and eventually the rest of the family. 

Because of her parents’ history and origin, Rubi grew up with many different traditions and beliefs. Rubi takes pride in her Mexican heritage, especially living in Chesterland where people with Hispanic/Latino ancestry are less common. Rubi speaks fluent Spanish and communicates with her parents that way. 

When asked about some of the cultural traditions she partakes in, she quickly responded saying her Quinceanera in Mexico 2 years ago was huge for her. She describes a Quinceanera as being, “…a grand 15th birthday party, celebrated in Mexico for girls who are coming of age.” Rubi said that it took months of planning and finding her, “gorgeous and fancy-looking” red dress was one of her favorite parts of it. She explained that Quinceaneras are not exactly like Sweet 16’s. “They are accompanied with a special mass for the event and also include a court of about 15 boys and 15 girls who perform dances.” She noted that her Quinceanera really made her feel, “…connected to my roots.” 

When asked about some of the differences or hardships she might feel as a first generation Mexican child living in the United States, she said that the hardships her parents underwent as immigrants with close to nothing in the U.S. (and no college experience) have shaped her life significantly. She said that her parents, “…motivate me to do as good as I can in school and to be grateful for the things I have, which is more than my parents ever had.”

Rubi continued saying the way she was raised and her parents’ cultural backgrounds sometimes set her apart from her friends. However, she also said that, “Sometimes it’s hard to feel connected to my roots when I’ve grown up in Ohio. There’s nothing wrong with what I grew up with, but I do feel that I don’t fit in with people in Mexico. Either way, I am still learning to accept myself as I am.”