History Hispanic tradition associated with Mexican, central and South American cultures Dates back to the Aztecs around 500BC “Quince” = fifteen “anera” = derivative of “anos” Aztec Girls presented into community as women Given responsibilities of womanhood Tradition later became Christianized Young lady makes her debut before the church and society at the age of 15 in a rite of passage
More Information Preparations often begin a year in advance The birthday girl chooses 14 girlfriends (damas) or family members to be a part of her court Each one representing one year of her life Also chooses an escort (chambelanes) for each of the 14 Coordination of Quinceanera requires teamwork from family, friends and relatives Many relatives and friends offer to be padrinos (sponsors) and help financially 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.
Customs Birthday girl typically wears a ball gown that is fitted on top and the bottom is bell shaped and floor length Colors of dress vary depending on country Quinceañera accessories often include: A quinceañera doll (her last one) A special quinceañera kneeling pillow Quinceañera bible and rosary A quinceañera tiara or crown A matching photo album and guest book Specially decorated quinceañera toasting glasses and matching cake knives Actual Quinceañera celebration consists of several parts Special thanksgiving mass or ceremony Reception and banquet Famous quinceañera waltz Highlight of celebration Girl spends months practicing
Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay In Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay the celebration (which is never referred to as a quinceañera but as a fiesta de quince) begins with the arrival of the teenager, wearing a special dress, and generally accompanied by her father. The location, if indoors, commonly has its entrance specially adorned for the occasion. The father and daughter duo make their entry through this front-door entrance at the sound of music, while friends and relatives customarily give the father flowers (usually roses). After this, the ceremony of the waltz begins, in which the girl dances with all her friends and relatives. Normally the ball is divided into segments, between which the various dishes are served.
Cuba In Cuba, the party may include a choreographed group dance, in which 16 couples waltz around the quinceañera, who is accompanied by one of the main dancers, a boy of her choice, her boyfriend or friends of rights. The choreography often includes four or six dancers or escorts called experts, who are allowed to dance around the quinceañera. They are usually inexperienced dancers whose function is to highlight the central couple. The male dancers are also allowed to wear tuxedos in different colors. Fifteenth birthday celebrations were very popular in Cuba until the late 70s. This practice partly entered Cuba via Spain, but the greatest influence was the French. The wealthy families who could afford to rent expensive dining rooms in private clubs or hotels of four and five stars were the real precursors of quinceañeras, which they called quinces. These celebrations usually took place in the house of the girl or the more spacious house of a relative. Although this is a tradition that is still practiced today in Latin America and Hispanic communities in North America, we sometimes tend to focus more on the wishes of the quinceañera.
Dominican Republic In the Dominican Republic this celebration is very traditional and common. It begins with a Mass in the Catholic Church to receive the blessing of God and give thanks for another year of life. At the birthday party the birthday girl makes her entrance to the place of the party accompanied by 14 additional pairs of guests, which together with the teenager's own are 15 pairs of people total. Usually quinceañera wears a gauzy pastel dressand the other couples wear long dresses (ladies) and suits and ties (the young men) which are often brightly colored. They are never to overshadow the birthday girl's dress which is the main focal point of the celebration. Almost immediately the quinceañera birthday girl dances the waltz with her partner who usually waltzes in the middle and passes her to the hands of her father to finish the waltz. It is customary for the quinceañera girl and couples escorts to perform several choreographed dances, which may include rhythms like merengue, pop, salsa, etc.. It is customary to serve a buffet and some drinks during the celebration. As the party favors or memories are given to the guests, the traditional album is signed by invited guests to record their presence at the party. One of the main attractions in the Dominican Republic is the traditional cake of fifteen years, which usually becomes a cake of immense size and beauty, as they use very colorful designs to decorate it.
Mexico In Mexico, the birthday girl is fixed up with fancy makeup. Traditionally, this was the first time she would wear makeup, but more recently this is no longer the case. She also has her nails and hair done especially for this occasion and dresses up with a fancy dress that she had chosen in advance. In the Mexican tradition - and if the teenager is Catholic - the quinceañera festival begins with a Thanksgiving mass. For this mass, the teenager comes dressed with a formal dress, usually quite creative in fashion and reminiscent of what a western bride or princess would wear. Traditionally, the quinceañera would wear a pink dress to symbolize her purity; however, in recent decades, white has become the color of choice to symbolize this treasured quality. If the quinceañerachoses, she may wear a white dress with colorful touches, including embroidery, that would best reflect her sense of fashion. She arrives at the celebration accompanied by her parents, godparents, and chamberlains. At this mass, a rosary, but sometimes a necklace with a locket or pendant with the image of Mexico's Virgin of Guadalupe, is awarded to the teenager by her godparents, such necklace having been previously blessed by the church clergy. She is also awarded a tiara as a reminder that to her loved ones, especially her immediate family, she will always be a princess. After this, the girl may leave her bouquet of flowers on the altar to the Virgin Mary.
Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela In Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, the quince is started with the arrival of the teenager accompanied by her father, and is then received by her mother and other relatives and friends. Then father and daughter dance a waltz, and other tunes. The quinceañera birthday girl will dance with her brothers (if any) and their uncles and godparents. Then she performs the pasodoble and the waltz with all members of the procession (optional dance than any other music, merengue, pop, etc.). For this occasion the teenager wears an evening dress in light colors or pastels, is dressed and made up slightly, usually places a tiara in her hair and jewels on her neck and hands. All the guests dressed in formal attire, including the teenager's friends of the same age. After the original dance, the choreography begins with a set up by the teenager and her friends. After that, the festival begins with music from live bands, some famous artist, DJ's, food, drink, and at one point of the night -usually late- a "crazy hour" is carried out, in which the attendants wear masks or funny wigs and make noise with whistles and rattles while fast-tempo music is played. It is optional to make some surprise dance performed by the quinceañera birthday girl(alone or accompanied), and also a dance that will give away her friends, cousins, etc.