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Quinceanera – A simple history
Fiesta de Quinceanera, a time in a Hispanic girl’s life where she moves from childhood into womanhood. It’s a celebration with family and friends, and sometimes contains religious undertones. It’s a time to celebrate one part of your life coming to a close, and another opening. It’s more than a birthday; it’s a rite of passage in every young Hispanic girl’s life.
Simply defined, a Quinceanera, or Fiesta de Quinceanera, mean one who is fifteen. It’s a celebration of the Hispanic girl’s fifteenth birthday in Latin America and elsewhere. It marks the transition from childhood into adulthood and comes in many forms of celebration style from the simple, the religious, or the elaborate. It can be compared with a southern girl’s coming out party in society.
There are many forms of the party, but the central theme is the same: going from childhood to becoming an adult. It is comparable to Bar and Bat Mitzvah, a Sweet Sixteen, Confirmation, and Debutante balls.
In Mexico, if the girl is Catholic, which is normally the case, the Quinceanera is a very elaborate rite of passage. It begins with the dress! The dress is usually elaborate and is sometimes called a “pre-wedding gown” because of its similarity to a wedding gown in that it is while, elaborately decorated or simply embellished, and is formal. It also symbolizes her virtue and purity. After the dress she has to think about hair and makeup, the dances, the food, the guests, and having fun at her own party. Traditionally a Mexican girl is not allowed to wear real makeup until this age. She is also not allowed to traditionally dance in public except for a school dance or with family members. There are dances with the family, the waltz with the chamberlains, and the general waltz with all the guests. But before all the pomp and circumstance, the Quinceanera girl goes to a special mass. At mass, she will usually receive a special rosary or a necklace with a locket with the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe from her godparents. From her parents, she will receive a tiara, which symbolizes that to her immediate family she will always be a princess. And after the gifts are exchanged, she will usually leave a bouquet of flowers on the altar of the Virgin Mary. At her party, there may be other celebratory events such as the Ritual of the last doll and the Ritual of the shoe. And after her party is complete, the next day her family and closest friend might gather to attend a special breakfast/brunch called the recalentado, where the food not consumed at the party the night before will be warmed again and served.
There are many different ceremonies around a child’s coming of age, and the Quinceanera is one of those. It is rooted in history, in tradition, part of our culture and our blood. There are beautiful ceremonies like the different rituals, the exchanging of gifts, the passing down of knowledge, religious rituals and blessings, and familial specific traditions. In the end, a Quinceanera is a birthday party and a rite of passage from childhood to adulthood, and is celebrated in many different forms with family and friends.
How did you celebrate your Quinceanera?
Hispanic Culture Site @ BellaOnline
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