Quinceañeras and Their Importance

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quinceaeraJust about everyone knows that for a young Hispanic girl, one of the most important days in her life, aside from her wedding day, is her Quinceañera. In our traditions the day a girl turns 15 is a very special and emotional day that it’s celebrated at a grand scale. The fest of “Quince Años”, or as it is most referred to “Quinceañera”, is the celebration that emotionally signifies the transition from a girl into womanhood. In earlier times, this day served as a day for parents to present their daughters into society and show that they matured. Today, many Latin American countries and Hispanic communities in the United States, celebrate this tradition. This custom was brought by the spaniards to become a Hispanic tradition, but the major influence on this festive day came from France, a country that normally practiced this custom to present their daughters to society and acknowledge that they were ready for marriage, and of course that they had no previous engagement to another individual.Some countries that celebrate the traditional Quinceañera, are countries like Mexico, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Argentina and Spain, of course all of them with unique traditions and similarities to one another. In the United States they celebrate a similar tradition, but they celebrate it when the girl turns 16 called the “Sweet Sixteen”. Normally, this day is celebrated with a great banquet. In France this day is celebrated with a debutant ball, which consists of a grand dance and a dinner with family and friends. In the Mexican tradition, if the girl is Catholic, it is custom to begin the day with a mass that gives thanks, in which the closest family and friends participate. The religious ceremony is the most important part, because it is when the Quinceañera receives a blessing. This religious ceremony is done to prepare the Quinceañera and advise her on this new stage in her life. Those who aren’t Catholic, usually only receive a religious talk or don’t include this ceremony in the feast. The girl arrives at the church accompanied by her parents and her relatives. At the church awaits her Quinceañera court, along with invited guest, her godparents, who during the ceremony give the Quinceañera her gifts along with the blessing of the priests. These gifts usually consist of a medal, a ring, some earrings, a bangle or a watch, a cushion, bible and rosary, and a bouquet that is given to the Virgin Mary as a gift. Other religions don’t practice the gift of the bouquet, like the Methodist, who also follows a religious ceremony similar to the Catholic. After mass, comes the party, which is normally celebrated at a ballroom, in which the guest enjoy a banquet and a dance.After the food, the grand ball follows which is followed by the most awaited moment, the presentation of the Quinceañera and the traditional waltz with her court. This is finalized with the coronation of the Quinceañera by her coronation godmother, which presents the Quinceañera with the traditional Quinceañera crown. Then, the godparents are presented to take part in the grand toast, in which the godparents of the toast serve the drinks to the other godparents, the quince court and the Quinceañera herself. At this moment the Quinceañera and her family give thanks to their entire guest and all the godparents that formed the celebration for accompanying them in this special day. But before beginning the dance, the Quinceañera dances the first song with her father and/or her brothers. During the night the cake is given and the dance tops off the night.The transition from girl into womanhood is an exciting moment that doesn’t always need a celebration, but is a grand occasion and a very important time in a young women’s life. For those who have the fortune of celebrating it at a grand scale, or intimately with family and friends, remember that this day is only celebrated once. So take the opportunity to get close to your family and plan this fabulous event, because this will help you appreciate the parent’s sacrifice in order to make this dream a reality. Be it here, in Mexico or in Cuba, the celebration of this beautiful tradition is carried out with a lot of joy in a very emotional day for the whole family, because they celebrate a special day that is only lived once in a woman’s life.

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