Quinceanera Essay, Research Paper
It has been known that when girls, as well as boys reach a certain age they
make a transition from childhood to adulthood. This type of transition may also be
called a right of passage, which signifies a person is ready to move into a new
stage in their lives. These rites of passages are given special titles that have an
enormous symbolic meaning per culture. For example, according to Mary
D.Lankford in her book A Latina’s Journey to Womanhood, she talks about the
right of passage for a thirteen year old jewish boy which is called bar mitzvah
and the similar right of passage for the jewish girl called the bat mitzvah. Another
widely celebrated right of passage by Latino families around the world is the
A Quinceanera is the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday. Mary
“After the Spanish conquered the Aztecs in 1521, the
traditions of their Catholic religion meshed with the initiation
rites of the Aztecs. As these rites continued to develop, the
age of fifteen marked a time of decision for young women”.
This is where Quinceanera originated and became a special occasion. The
difference between a Quinceanera and any other birthday party is that it is
fancier and you invite more people. Planning for a Quinceanera takes about a
year. The girl celebrating has to do many things during the year to prepare for
this celebration. She has to pick a partner which is known as an escort, along
with a court of honor, which is fourteen couples each representing one year of
her life. The girl with her parents has to pick the type of music that will be played
and the food and beverages that will be served. She also needs to get her dress
and pick out the dresses for the girls in her court of honor. The guys just wear
tuxedos. This preparation is similar to a wedding.
After many months of preparation the big event takes place. The first
thing you do on this day is go to church. You invite your close relatives and close
friends. The priest talks to you about becoming a woman. According to Mary
D.Lankford the Quinceanera mass is more than a religious service it is the
reaffirmation of promises of religious faith. Once the spiritual ceremony is over
you move on to the social part of the Quinceanera. This is usually held in a hall in
the evening where all invited guests come to celebrate the Quinceanera’s.
becoming of a woman. This is where you celebrate by having a band play live
music and dance all night. Everyone that is invited to the celebration waits
anxiously for the big entrance of the Quinceanera. The court of honor comes out
first and then the Quinceanera with her escort, followed by her parents. The
Quinceanera’s mother carries a satin pillow with a pair of high heels on top. The
Quinceanera sits on a high chair at this time her father changes her shoes to the
high heels from the satin pillow. This symbolizes the move from childhood to
adulthood. After the change of the shoes the Quinceneara dances the first dance
with her father, she then switches to dance with her partner. The court of honor
follows in the dance. After the dance is over the guest’s are invited to go and
dance. Through out the night everyone dances and eats. As the night ends the
guest’s leave and get a special memory to take home, which could be a pin with
the date and the Quinceanera’s name.
In conclusion, a Quinceanera is a very special time in a young girls life
where she takes her first steps in a journey toward adulthood and a new life.
Lankford,D.Mary. Quinceanera: A Latina’s Journey to Womenhood.
Connectitcut: The Millbrook Press, 1994