The Quinceañera, or Quince Anos, is a young woman's celebration of her fifteenth birthday and acknowledges her transition from childhood to womanhood. It is a significant passage for adolescent girls in almost all cultures. From a north-of-the-border viewpoint it may be seen as a cross between a Sweet Sixteen and a debutante's coming out party. Simply stated, the celebration is a way to acknowledge that a young woman has reached sexual maturity and is of a marriageable age. Regardless of how the tradition originated, and in spite of the relentless commercialism of our culture today, the celebration of the Quinceañera remains a rite of passage that keeps the bonds of the family firmly cemented.
The Quinceañera began as a blended tradition between the Spanish conquerors as they mixed with the native people in Mexico. They blended the coming of age traditions and ceremonies of the native people with their religion. When the Spaniards arrived, the majority were Catholics and the missionaries tried to maintain some of the traditions but with more of a religious significance.
With the large population of Latino people in all areas of the United States, the Quinceanera celebration is becoming common almost everywhere. However, the ways that it is celebrated can differ greatly depending on location, family tradition, and religion. There are some traditions that seem to be practiced almost everywhere, like the changing of the shoes, the first dance and the wearing of a traditional Quince Gown. However, all other aspects of the Quinceanera have become subject to the young girl and her family wishes. Some families have a Quinceañera just to have a big party. For other families, it is a deeply religious event and the young lady needs to have maintained a certain standard of modesty and behavior to be given the privilege of having a Quinceañera. Traditionally, once the Quinceanera ceremony is over, a girl is then allowed to work, do volunteer work and even get married.
In South Texas, the Quinceanera-Sweet Fifteen is a much celebrated event. Huge quantities of delicious food and festive party musicare everywhere in a big hall. The celebrant and her court wear formal Quinceanera Gowns with traditional Quinceanera accessories such as the tiara and scepter. The party hall is adorned with brilliant and colorful Quince decorations to highlight the special theme.
The Quinceanera Celebration in Mexico. The most important component of the celebration is a Misa de acción de gracias (thanksgiving Mass). The birthday girl arrives decked out in a fancy full-length dress - frills, pastel tones and matching hats or headdresses prevail. Flanked by her parents and padrinos (godparents), she is seated at the foot of the altar throughout the service. She may be accompanied by up to seven damas (maids of honor) and as many chambelanes (chamberlains), selected from among close family and friends. At the end of the mass younger sisters, cousins and friends pass out bolos (commemorative favors) to those in attendance.
The girl deposits her bouquet on the altar or in a niche honoring the Virgin Mary, most often that of the ubiquitous Virgen de Guadalupe.
A Quinceañera typically starts early in the evening and lasts till after midnight. It is traditional for the Quince girl to choose special friends to participate in what is called the Court of Honor. Usually these people are her closest friends, sisters, brothers, cousins - all those she wants to share the special moment with. The formal celebration is steeped in tradition. From the deeply serious Catholic Mass, to the changing of the shoes, to the presentation of the ceremonial Quince gifts and Quince favors, the historical significance is unmistakable.
is always the option of further celebrating the occasion with a fiesta (birthday bash) which includes live band music and lots of dancing. Often the families will lease banquet halls for the dance. To cover the multiple expenses, a host of padrinos and madrinas may be invited to sponsor the dress, the music, the locale, the bar, the cake and the table favors. While raucous music tends to dominate the event, the culminating moment comes when the celebrant and her number-one chambelán (escort) dance to a traditional waltz. Other indispensable highlights include a customary toast and the cutting of a multi-tiered birthday cake.
My Quince Will Come.....
Celebrate Your Magical Night with a Cinderella Theme! You’ve dreamed of this night for 15 years and finally a spectacular Quinceanera dress and sparkling tiara await you. A beautiful set of high-heeled glass and rhinestone slippers are ready for your own Prince Charming (daddy) to place on your feet. Start planning for your Cinderella-themed Quinceañera by choosing a slogan to use throughout your party.
Make sure to include personalized Quinceanera invitations, banners and Quinceanera party favors and gifts.