Latin American Coming-of-age Traditions
In the Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central and South American traditions, the custom can be referred to as a Quince (XV) Aos, a quinces,a Quinceanera, a Quinceanero or a Fiesta Rosa.The Quinceanera celebration traditionally begins with a religious ceremony. A Reception is held in the home or a banquet hall. The festivities include food and music, and in most, a choreographed waltz or dance performed by the Quinceanera and her Court. It is traditional for the Quinceanera to choose special friends to participate in what is called the Court of Honor. Usually, these young people are her closest friends, her brothers, sisters, cousins “ the special people in her life with whom she wants to share the spotlight. The Quinceanera’s Court of Honor can be comprised of all young girls (called Dama), all young men (called Chambeln or Escorte or Galn) or a combination of both.. The Quinceanera traditionally wears a ball gown, with her Court dressed in gowns and tuxedos. Guests usually receive small tokens, cpias and cermicas, to commemorate the celebration. It is customary for the Quinceanera to receive some or all of the following items for her ceremony. Tiara Cross or medal Bible or prayer book and rosary Scepter Other accessories for this special occasion might be: Flower Bouquet Cake Decoration Cake server set Champagne glasses The last doll Guest book Photo album Invitations/reception cards Ceremony pillows Guest favors There are many traditions throughout the quinceanera celebration. One of the most popular is the Changing of the Shoes. The father or favored male relative ceremoniously changes the young girl™s flat shoes to high heels. This is a beautiful symbol of the Quinceaera™s transformation from a little girl to a young lady. At the church ceremony, a special Kneeling Pillow, sometimes personalized with the Quinceaera™s name, is placed in position for the young girl to kneel on during the ceremony. And, a touch of elegance is added with smaller decorated Ceremony Pillows for the presentation of the Quinceaera™s ceremony gifts, such as the Tiara, the Scepter and the Shoes. At the reception, there is always the toast to the Quinceanera, known as the brindis. With decorated Champagne Glasses, the guests are invited to offer their congratulations and best wishes.
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. In some Hispanic cultures, the cpias (printed ribbons with the Quinceanera™s name and date) are pinned to the doll, and the Quinceanera circulates among her guests, thanking them for their presence and presenting them with a memento taken from the doll.