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A Complete Guide to Quinceanera Traditions

The centuries old traditions of a Quinceanera celebration are beautiful ways that celebrate a young girl's transition into adulthood. Unlike the American “Sweet 16” celebration, Quinceanera celebrations are for when a young woman turns 15.

Rooted in Latin culture, Quinceanera celebrations differ depending on the location you live in. From traditional Mexican history to United States creativity, Quinceaneras are performed all over the world. However, there are core values that are important and you can depend on Weddings & Events by Raina to help you throw a Quinceanera that is simply amazing. Your culture and tradition are important to us, which means we’ll work with you to plan a Quinceanera to amaze your guests.

History of the Quinceanera During the height of the Aztecs, when a girl turned 15 she would be considered to be ready for marriage. This celebration of her coming of age originated in Mexico, however, Quinceaneras are now celebrated and practiced all over the world.

Catholic Mass Before the celebration begins, the Quinceanera and her family attend a religious ceremony for blessings and faith. Entering the church, the Quinceanera will be accompanied with her court as well as her family and godparents. The readings are chosen by the Quinceanera and are often read by her as well. The blessing renews the Quinceanera's baptismal promise and her commitment to God. Unlike when she was baptized and a child, now she is making these important vows her own.

The Quinceanera's Traditional Court The Quinceanera's closest friends are usually who the Quinceanera's court consists of. Making memories during the Quinceanera is what is all about, so that’s why it's so important to have your closest friends, siblings and cousins participating. The girls of the Quinceanera court are called “damas,” while the boys are called “chambelanes”. The damas and chambelanes will be with the Quinceanera throughout the day and are usually with her until all her other guests leave. The outfit and dresses of the Quinceanera is usually matched to the rest of her traditional court because the Quinceanera and her friends will most likely take part in a dance number during reception. It takes a lot of dedicated practice and time to get the routine right, so it’s not an easy task to be part of the Quinceanera court!

Father-Daughter Dance One of the most memorable moments during the Quinceanera celebration will come when the father dances with his daughter. This usually how the the reception is begun since all guests are still in attendance. The song will usually be very meaningful for the dad and his daughter as she celebrates this milestone in her life. This dance symbolizes that her father is the first man in her life.

Fiesta! Unlike usual parties, Quinceaneras have an amazing celebration. This the time for guests to relax enjoy. There is a variety of traditional music that is played throughout the day. Aside from dancing the night away, there might be a surprise slide show that showcases the Quinceanera's early childhood. It’s an emotional moment especially for the parents as they watch their daughter grow up to the beautiful women she is.

The Quinceanera Toast To honor the Quinceanera on her special day, her parents and family will take the time to thank family and friends. It’s a rather emotional time for the family since they can now see their daughter all grown up as they share a few words about her with those they are closest to. After her parents are done speaking, the Quinceanera will say a few words of her own. The Quinceanera’s toast is significant because it will be the first time she is speaking as young women.

The Waltz Remember that dance number that the Quinceanera and her court is supposed to do? That routine is the waltz and is usually performed in the beginning or middle of the reception. The waltz is a choreographed dance that usually happens right after the father and daughter dance.

Cake Cutting Like any great celebration, there has to be cake involved! The cake cutting ceremony is not only relevant when celebrating a wedding. Accompanied by the Quincenera and her parents, she cuts the cake in front of all her guests.

The Quinceanera Gown If it’s your birthday, of course you want to be in the spotlight! Symbolizing an “adult dress” the traditional Quinceanera gown is meant to be a lavish outfit. Colors are important too since it coordinates of the Quinceanera, her family and her court. The birthday girl is usually the one to pick the color since it shows her personality and look overall look of the party. In more traditional Quinceanera celebrations, the color symbolizes a sense of purity pertaining to the virgin mary.

The Last Doll The father usually gives the Quinceanera a doll to symbolize leaving childish possessions in replacement for more adult items. This doesn’t mean that the daughter can’t buy dolls in the future, but rather saying her interests will move past toys. The doll will usually be dressed like the Quinceanera to represent her.

Quinceanera Gifts Gifts ideas are a big deal when it comes to Quincearneras. Often there is a lot of symbolism within each gift, which means that buying the most expensive item at the store might not always be the best idea.

High Heels What could symbolize adult hood better rather than a pair of high heels? This gift is usually given by the parents or family members of the Quinceanera to pave the way towards her becoming an adult. Flats represent childhood while heels are her step toward becoming an adult.

Earrings Gifted the Quinceanera earrings is a reminder that to her to keep her ears open to God and her faith. This means practicing what she preaches as she grows older and leading a Christlike life.

Tiara & Scepter A tiara is meant to symbolize the beauty of the Quinceanera in the eyes of God. It’s a simpler headpiece and it is placed on her head during the ceremony. This tradition is very much alive throughout Latin American cultures. Carrying a scepter is a symbolic of authority and her new set of responsibilities. It also symbolizes faith and sovereignty. It shows that the Quinceanera is now a women.

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