A Mexican birthday party for a 15-year-old girl ended in death on Monday after her father accidentally sent out a public Facebook invite earlier this month, resulting in thousands of guests, according to People Magazine.
The teen’s quinceanera invite was only supposed to be for a small private gathering, but the Facebook invitation that Rubi Ibarra Garcia’s father sent out a few weeks prior to the party was accidentally set as public.
NPR reports that over a million people replied to the Mexican birthday party invitation but only a few thousand were actually in attendance on Monday in the small northern Mexican village of La Joya.
A short video invitation for the Mexican birthday party was uploaded to YouTube on December 3 to accompany the Facebook event that was created by Rubi’s father, Crescencio Ibarra. Both the Facebook invite and the video invite quickly went viral with nearly a million shares, likes, and views.
Some social media users noticed Crescencio’s error in setting the invite as public, inviting “everyone,” and laughed it off, but that didn’t stop thousands from actually attending Rubi’s quinceanera on December 26.
Hashtag #XVdeRuby was trending on social media with the Mexican airline Interjet offering almost a 50 percent discount for guests flying to the quinceanera — a Mexican celebration of a 15-year-old girl’s birthday.
NBC News outlined what was to be expected at the Mexican birthday party on Monday, with death not included on the list of events. Even though thousands of guests crashed the quinceanera, the Ibarra family managed to hold a private mass and mid-afternoon lunch for family and friends only.
But later that day, shortly before 6 p.m., a horse race, offering a prize of 10,000 Mexican pesos — nearly $500 U.S. — ended in the death of 66-year-old Felix Pena, an owner of one of the horses that participated in the traditional horse race held to pay tribute to the “transition from childhood to young womanhood.”
According to Fox News, the Mexican birthday party “ended in chaos” on Monday with at least 30,000 guests worldwide in attendance and Felix Pena dead after he accidentally stepped into the path of the horse race.
Red Cross workers were called in to monitor the Mexican birthday party after Crescencio announced that “everyone is cordially invited,” which, according to Rubi’s mother, only meant everyone in the surrounding communities, not everyone in the world.
“This all got out of control,” said Crescencio in an interview.
“That doesn’t mean we didn’t want to invite everyone, of course, but here our parties are regional… This is something we weren’t expecting.”
One communications professor at Mexico’s La Salle Bajio University in Leon, Mexico, said that Monday’s viral Mexican birthday party shows just how the internet “amplifies and makes hyper-transparent people’s personal lives.”
The public Mexican birthday party invitation brought out internet “jokesters” who took to social media, posting memes of the “massive crowds” that were headed to Rubi’s quinceanera.
A Mexican celebrity, Gael Garcia Bernal, even made a parody video of Crescencio’s honest mistake. Bernal’s lengthy parody video was uploaded to YouTube two days after Crescencio’s video; it now has over 200,000 more views than the original Mexican birthday party invitation.
Some social media users wonder why anyone would even go to a birthday party of someone they don’t know, while other social media users are wondering why Crescencio didn’t use the 23 days between the time of the Facebook invite and the day of the Mexican birthday party to change the event from public to private.
The Huffington Post reported in March that while social media use is growing among older adults, they are usually not as social media savvy as their younger counterparts and may need to take a class on computer basics and how to use social media platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, to prevent the kind of error that Crescencio made by accidentally inviting everyone to Rubi’s Mexican birthday party.
Rubi took to her Facebook account on Monday to ask for patience from the thousands of guests who attended her quinceanera and later received an offer to appear on the long-running Mexican soap opera The Rose of Guadalupe.
Yahoo News reports that apart from the death of Felix Pena and one man hospitalized with a broken leg, the Mexican birthday party “went off peacefully,” with Mexican media calling it the “party of the year.”
[Featured Image by Eduardo Verdugo/AP Images]