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Latin America millenary tradition

The Ceremony

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Latin America millenary tradition

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Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central & South America. 

Photography: Gustavo Villareal, CA

The custom can be referred to as a Quinceanera (XV) Años, a quinces, a Quinceanera, a Quinceanero or a Fiesta Rosa.

The Quinceañera 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 Chambelan or Corte) or a combination of both.

The Quinceanera traditionally wears a ball gown, with her Court dressed in gowns and tuxedos. Guests usually receive small recuerdito to commemorate the celebration.

It is customary for the Quinceanera to receive some or all of the following items for her ceremony.

Ceremony pilows
Cross or medal
Bible or prayer book and rosary

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

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 Quinceaneras transformation from a little girl to a young lady.

At the church ceremony, a special Kneeling Pillow, sometimes personalized with the Quinceaneras 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 Quinceaneras 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 recuerditos (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.

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