Published Jan 26, 2016 at 2:23 PM | Updated at 5:46 AM EST on Jan 27, 2016
Now that travel to Cuba is easier than it once was, many girls are traveling back to the island to celebrate their Quinceañera , a trend that also has helped small businesses boom.
With recent economic reforms for small-scale, private businesses and the re-establishment of U.S.-Cuban diplomatic relations, many families on the island now have extra cash to spend for Quinceañera celebrations. And many photo studios are run by former state employees who purchased cameras with the help of U.S. relatives and have found taking pictures far more profitable than the average monthly government salary of $20.
Daniela Santos Torres, 15, left Cuba when she was 3 years old and now lives in Arizona. She returned to Cuba last month for her Quinceañera, a tradition which usually includes a series of photo shoots while marking a girl’s transition into womanhood. Being able to return to her birthplace, she said, was “a dream,” allowing her to include her extended family and friends on the island. Take a look at these colorful photos of celebrations around the island.