The transition from childhood to womanhood is an important event in almost any culture. Hispanics, however, mark this memorable occasion with the celebration of a Quinceanera or Sweet 15. A Quinceanera celebration is a Hispanic tradition associated with Mexican, central and South American cultures. Through the different ceremonies that take place today, the young Quinceanera is formally introduced to society and it is a day to give thanks for having reached this age.
It is customary that the Quinceanera will wear a ball gown usually with a petticoat or crinolina underneath to make the dress look extra puffy. In the United States the dress is most commonly of white color, while in other countries such as Mexico it is very common to see the Quinceanera wear a pastel color dress or even red, royal blue, or burgundy.
Quinceanera accessories usually include: A quinceanera doll (her last doll), a special quinceanera kneeling pillow, a quinceanera bible, a quinceanera tiara or crown, a guest signature book and specially decorated quinceanera toasting glasses and matching cake knives.
Traditionally, the celebration will usually consist of up to fourteen young girls called damas and fourteen young men called chambelanes, in addition to the Quinceanera s own chambelan de honor. Quinceaneras can also choose to have only all damas or all chambelanes. Typically the damas will all wear same color and style gowns to coordinate with the Quinceanera gown and the boys wear coordinating tuxedos.
The actual Quinceanera celebration consists of several parts. It is traditional to have a special thanksgiving mass or ceremony, followed by the reception and the banquet, and not to forget the famous quinceanrea waltz or el bals.
After months of practice for the waltz, the moment finally comes during the reception. It is assumed that the Quinceanera prior to this date has not been able to dance with anyone before. It is at this time that the Quinceanera will dance the waltz with her chambelan and accompanied by her damas and other chambelanes. This is a major highlight of the celebration. Other important highlights will follow such as the toast and the cutting of the cake.
Without a doubt the Quinceanera celebration is a major Hispanic tradition where family, friends and relatives will go thru every effort to attend and participate in this celebration.
The entire festivity is full of spiritual and emotional moments, and composed of several events that take place, where God, thanksgiving, food, music and dance are the mix of ingredients for a joyous culmination after months of planning.
This has been my second Quinceanera and it has truly been an honor to be a part of such a valued and honored Hispanic tradition. You can see the full Quinceanera here.