Latin America & Caribbean

Thousands attend Mexican girl's party after viral invitation

People sit at tables at Rubi's birthday party in La Joya, Mexico. Photo: 26 December 2016 Image copyright EPA
Image caption Dozens of tables and tents were prepared for those who turned up at the party

Thousands of people have attended a girl's birthday party in Mexico, after her parent's video invitation to "everyone" went viral on social media.

Family members had to move away an army of waiting reporters so Rubi Ibarra Garcia could attend a Mass in La Joya community, central Mexico.

She was celebrating her 15th birthday - a traditional coming-of-age party in Mexico known as "quinceanera".

About 1.2 million people had earlier vowed to attend the party.

However, the father later said the idea had been to invite neighbours and friends only - while stressing he would not turn anyone away.

Internet memes

On Monday, dozens of tents and tables filled with food were prepared for those who made the journey.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Rubi was accompanied by her parents to an open-air Mass
Image copyright AP
Image caption Large crowds turned out for Rubi's "quinceanera" party

They were met by Rubi, who looked serene despite the crowds, wearing a fuchsia dress and a tiara.

In the video posted online earlier this month the girl's father said that "everyone is welcome" to the party featuring three local bands, a meal and a horse race.

The footage shows Crescencio Ibarra standing next to his daughter Rubi and his wife Anaelda Garcia.

"Hello, how are you? We invite you this 26 December to the 15th birthday party of our daughter, Rubi Ibarra Garcia," Mr Ibarra says, while his daughter smiles.

He then goes on to announce that the winner of the horse race to be held as part of the event stands to win 10,000 pesos ($490; £390).

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Some made up elaborate fake fliers for the party listing the bands that will play

He ends by saying that "hereby everyone is cordially invited".

It is not clear why this particular video went viral and was shared more than 800,000 times and prompted countless memes and imitations.

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Not quite: Predictions that crowds at Rubi's birthday would easily exceed those who went to Queen and Metallica concerts did not materialise
Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Businesses also got in on the act, with Mexican airline Interjet asking: "Are you going to Rubi's 15th birthday party?" and offering a 30% discount for flights to her home state

Mr Ibarra said in a later TV interview he had no idea what had caught the public's imagination.

"We wanted to invite the people from the area, that's all," he said, before denying he had since uninvited all but personal acquaintances.

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