The Quinceanera Celebration
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The Quinceañera or Quince años is, in some Spanish-speaking regions of the Americas, a young woman's celebration of her fifteenth birthday, which is commemorated in a unique and different way from her other birthdays. It is sometimes represented XV Años, meaning "15 years." Only a few countries call the actual party "quinceañera."
Besides referring to the actual festivities, the word is also used to refer to the young woman whose 15th birthday is being celebrated (analogous to the word cumpleañera for "birthday girl"). The closest equivalents to the quinceañera in the English-speaking world are the sweet sixteen, Bar or Bat Mitzvah for Jewish children turning 13, cotillion, or, in more affluent communities, the debutante ball for those who turn 18.
Because of the large population of Latino people in areas of the United States, the Quinceañera celebration is becoming more common. However, the way that it is celebrated can differ greatly depending on location, family tradition, and religion.
In Washington, Texas, and Oklahoma, it is often the practice for many family members or Padrinos
(godparents) to contribute funds for this special day. The Padrinos may be asked to provide for the quinceañera's dress, shoes, centerpieces, cost for the hall, alcoholic beverages or other various items that are essential for a Quinceañera. The most important Padrinos are the ones who sponsor the crown, bible and/or missal and rosary, medal, bracelet and earrings and they are included in the procession into the service or mass and are announced during the reception.
There are some traditions that seem to be practiced almost everywhere like the changing of the shoes, the first dance, and the quinceañera traditionally being dressed in a ball gown. More often, the girls' dress is often white with touches of color to match the court's dresses. However, all other aspects of the Quinceañera have become subject to the wishes of the young girl and her family. Some families celebrate the Quinceañera just as one big party. For other families, though, it is a deeply religious event and the young lady needs to have maintained a certain standard of modesty and behavior to be given the privilege of having a Quinceañera.
Until recently, there has been a lack of formal rituals for Quinceanera within the U.S. Roman Catholic Church; priests and deacons have been left to adapt liturgies to the needs of the celebration. In 2007 the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a formal ritual, approved by the Vatican, to be used in the context of Eucharistic liturgies, with adaptations for Liturgies of the Word.
In Mexican tradition, the celebration is festive gathering relatives and friends. This "Quinceanera" to the Mexicans, means a young girl is becoming a woman. The girl's court is sometimes made up of all girls or all boys. Then there is a main boy called a "chambalan". It's also similar to the traditions of Honduran quinces. In some traditions the so-called "Quinceañera" has godparents to pay for certain things, like the dress, cake, music, limousines, church, flowers and decorations, et cetera.
There are several different theories as to the origin of this celebration; the most common is that the quinceañera was the result of a blending of mostly religious traditions from both Spanish conquerors and the native people of Mexico. Specifically, this celebration contains elements of the coming of age traditions and Mexican ceremonies along with elements from Spanish culture. The quinceañera resembles and probably gets its name from a 16th-century Spanish tradition of presenting one's 15-year-old daughter to society. Over time, as the natives were converted to Catholicism by Spanish missionaries, they also began to emulate some of the practices of the Spanish.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Quinceanera".