It is a celebration of girls 15th birthday in Latin America. • It marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood. It celebrates a young woman’s maturity.
La parte importante • The most important component is a Misa de acción de gracias (Thanksgiving Mass). • Family and friends come to the mass. The mass is to give thanks to God for the young girl’s life. Her parents are joyful because they have seen their daughter grow and mature. Now she is ready to tell God that she wants to follow him, that she wants to follow his commandments during her life, that she wants to be a responsible Christian woman.
The birthday girl arrive in • a fancy full-length dress .
La Misa de Accion de Gracias • Assisted by her parents and padrinos (godparents), she is specially seated at the foot of the altar throughout the service. • For the service, the church usually asks for a donation that could be up to $300.
The Gifts • A headpiece is worn during the Mass. • Her parents or Godparents exchange the headpiece with a tiara or crown and she is handed a scepter as well during the mass of thanksgiving. • The headpiece symbolizes a princess before god and the scepter is used to symbolize the passing on of adult responsibilities.
At the mass, the Quinceañera may be also gifted with • a cross, • a bible • a Rosario symbolizing her faith. • The quinceañera’s Cross or Medal is often given to Signify faith in God, in herself, and in the world.
The Honor Court (el corte de honor) She may be accompanied by up to seven damas (maids of honor) and as many chambelanes (chamberlains), selected from among close family and friends.
The End of the Mass: The quinceañera puts her bouquet on the altar or in a niche honoring the Virgin Mary, or most often that of the Virgen de Guadalupe.
La Fiesta • Young women usually have a party, complete with live band music. • Parents and Godparents pay for the expenses. • The food that is typically served is called Birra (goat meat)
El baile or el valz The big moment comes when the festejada (celebrant) and her number-one chambelán (escort) dance to a traditional waltz. Sometimes there is a surprise dance (el baile sorpresa) afterwards. Sometimes there is a father daughter dance.
The Toast (El Brindis) The father generally leads the toast, but it can be done by the master or mistress of ceremony, bandleader or Honor Escort. Mexican quinceañeras lately do another dance with the Copas/Glasses to finish with the grand finale toast.
El Pastel • Another highlight is the cutting of the cake. • Decorated to match the quinceañera's dress. • the cake may be of such monumental proportions that the door leading into the party locale must be removed from it hinges.to accommodate it!
Changing of the Shoes(el cambio de zapatillas) • At the beginning of the evening, the guest of honor will wear flat shoes. • At the end of the night, she will be presented with a pair of elegant, heeled shoes to signify her more grown-up status.
The Last Doll ( la última muñeca) • The Last Doll is used as part of the ceremony or as decoration and keepsake. In some customs, the Quinceanera doll represents the last things of a child now that the Quinceanera will focus on the things of a young lady.