Quinceanera Essay Research Paper It has been

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

D.Lankford says:

“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


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