Whether you are of Hispanic heritage or not, the Quinceanera is a well-known celebration throughout the country. With its’ origins dating back hundreds of years and across continents the celebration continues today, although there have been some changes.
Todays celebrations include religious customs along with the virtues of family and social responsibility. It is a celebration denoting the coming of age of a young girl as she turns 15. It recognizes her journey from childhood to maturity and signifies her becoming a woman.
In American the celebration has become part of the culture. The celebration so closely resembles the American tradition of “Sweet Sixteen” that some families have merged the two. Now, some Sweet Sixteen parties include Quinceanera traditions including the religious ceremony and reception.
As the celebrations goes it traditionally begins with a religious ceremony which is followed be a reception. The ceremony and festivities closely resemble those of a wedding with close friends and family of the honoree participating in what is called the Court of Honor. The Quinceanera even wears a ball gown that resemble a wedding gown with her Court of Honor wearing gowns and tuxedos much like a wedding party.
Some other customs include the Quiceanera receiving a Tiara, cross or medal, Bible or prayer book and rosary and a scepter. Another interesting tradition is the “Changing of the Shoes”. Usually the Father or another favorite male relative ceremoniously changes the young girls’ flat shoes to high heels, further symbolizing the young girls’ transformation into a young lady.
Many families with female children look forward to this quaint rite of passage and spend years in its planning. Thousands of dollars are often spent on elaborate receptions including food music and fun for all.
The Quinceanera celebration is sure to continue as one of the most loved celebrations that a family can have.