Quinceañeras Tradition

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I was born into a Hispanic family and like most Hispanics, we have a lot of traditions. One of those traditions is a Quinceañera. Most Americans know what a Quinceañera is but in case you don’t, I would like to give you some background.

A Quinceañera is celebrated on a girl’s 15th birthday and marks her transition from childhood to adulthood. It is celebrated in Mexico today by Latinos and throughout Latin America. The young lady is pampered, wears a full-length ball gown in the color of her choice, and carries a flower bouquet matching the color of her dress.

The day begins with a special mass with the Quinceañeras’ friends, family, and any special guests, such as godparents. At this mass, the girl receives holy communion and commits herself to the Lord and the Virgin Mary. It is tradition for the young lady to give her flower bouquet as a gift to the Virgin Mary. At the end of the mass, the priest will bless the Quinceanera.

After the mass is the fiesta! The parties are usually big and there are balloons, flowers, decorations, and lots of food. Some of the common things you will see in a Quinceañera celebration include chambelanes, damas, choreographed dances, and special items given to the Quinceanera. Chambelanes are young men who escort the Quinceanera throughout her day; damas are the female version of the chambelanes. All chambelanes wear the same outfit and the damas wear the same colored dress. Chambelanes perform a choreographed dance with the Quinceañera, the most common of which is the waltz; however, with new generations, there are often other dance styles.

Next is La Ultima Muneca (the last doll). The girl is presented with a doll that is said to be her last doll because the celebration is the last day she will remain a girl. Then we have El Primer Ramo de Flores, or the first flower bouquet. The birthday girl is offered a bouquet of flowers which symbolizes the first flowers she receives as a young woman.  Finally, the girl breaks fifteen small pinatas, each one symbolizing a year of her life. The fiesta is a big celebration and can be very costly for the family. If you ever get invited to a Quinceañera party, you should totally go.

The Quinceañera is something that girls often look forward to. When I was in school, most of my friends could not wait until they were 15. It was always a memorable event and I even got to be a dama for some of my friends’ Quinceañeras; I loved the experience. When I turned 15, my dad gave me two choices: I could have a Quinceañera or a car. I didn’t even have to think about it – I told him I wanted the car. It was the best present I could get at 15. I would finally be going to school in a car and not riding the bus!

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Julia Escareno was born in Mexico City, Mexico but raised in Idaho Falls, Idaho. She has 5 kids - all boys, ages 14, 7, 4 and 2 (and 1 husband). She is a full-time working mother and part-time student who loves to read, run, and spend time with her kids. When Julia is not working, you will find her shopping for a good deal at any thrift store, attending her kids track/cross country meets, or training for her next Spartan Race. Julia also has a small side business making girl headbands and bows, and one day when her kids are all grown up, she hopes to open her own headband boutique. In the meantime, she is enjoying this time in her life with her crazy kiddos.