In the Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central and South American traditions, the custom can be referred to as a Quince (XV) Años, 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 Chambelán or Escorte or Galán) 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, cápias and cerámicas, to commemorate the celebration.
It is customary for the Quinceanera to receive some or all of the following items for her ceremony.
Cross or medal
Bible or prayer book and rosary
Other accessories for this special occasion might be:
Cake server set
The last doll
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 Quinceañera’s transformation from a little girl to a young lady.
At the church ceremony, a special Kneeling Pillow, sometimes personalized with the Quinceañera’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 Quinceañera’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 cápias (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.