History of a Quinceanera
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. The Quinceanera tradition is believed to have started many years ago when the Spanish conquerors brought the tradition to Mexico and others say the tradition originated with the Aztecs. Regardless, 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.
The coordination of the entire Quinceanera event is a teamwork effort of family, friends and relatives. Very strong family ties come into play. It is customary that all these family, friends and relatives will volunteer to be padrinos or sponsors. Each sponsor takes financial and/or moral responsibility over what they have been assigned including the cake, invitations, doll, bible, rosary, etc.
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, and a crown or tiara along with her gloves. 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
- quinceanera bible and rosary
- a quinceanera tiara or crown
- a matching photo album and guest signature book
- specially decorated quinceanera toasting glasses and matching cake knives
Traditionally, the celebration will usually consist of have fourteen young girls called damas and fourteen young men called chambelanes, in addition to the Quinceanera s own chambelan de honor. Nowadays, Quinceaneras will sometimes choose to have only seven damas and seven chambelans. 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.