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Teen Traditions Tuesday: Quinceañera Traditions Explained
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In the Latino culture, the Quinceañera is the tradition of celebrating a young girl's coming of age upon reaching her fifteenth birthday (or Quince Años). The special day may include a Catholic Mass of Thanksgiving and a reception afterwards, or simply a 15th birthday party with all the frills. Either way, it recognizes a young girl's road to maturity and there are many different traditions that are very important in the planning of this special event.

The Quinceañera, as the birthday girl is referred to, has traditionally worn a pink dress to symbolize the purity of her youth. Recently, it has become much more common for the young lady to choose a white dress for the same symbolism, mimicking the beautiful white gowns of Western brides, or to choose a vibrant gown in a color she simply enjoys. A popular tradition is for the young lady to wear flat-heeled shoes to her ceremony and for the Changing of the Shoes to take place at the reception after Mass. The Quinceañera's father (or male filling the role) changes his daughter's shoes from the flat- heeled shoes of a child to the high-heeled shoes of a young lady, symbolizing her transition on this day.

During the Thanksgiving Mass, a kneeling pillow is placed in position for the Quinceañera to kneel on as she is presented with symbolic treasures, such as a tiara (symbolizing she'll always be a princess in her family), a cross, a bible and/or a scepter (which symbolizes authority and responsibility for her life).

The Quinceañera may also choose to have a Candle Ceremony during her Thanksgiving Mass. The ceremony involves the presentation of fifteen lit candles to the most important people in her life and usually involves a brief blessing or speech of gratitude for bringing her to this day.

The "Last Doll" is also presented as part of the ceremony. It represents the last things of a child now that she will focus on being a young lady. Depending on the family's tradition, the doll may be presented to the Quinceañera by her parents, or the Quinceañera may present it to a younger sister or female cousin, symbolizing the passing of the role of child as she enters womanhood.

An integral part of most any Quince Años celebration is the inclusion of the Court of Honor which traditionally is comprised of seven Damas (female companions) and seven Chambelanes (male escorts). The role of a Dama or Chambelan is treasured and given to the young ladies and gentlemen who are closest to the Quinceañera, with a sister or best friend taking the role of Dama de Honor and a brother or boyfriend taking the role of Chambelán de Honor.

Contrary to traditional American wedding celebrations, where the bride's family, or the bridal couple themselves, pay for the entirety of the festivities, it is considered traditional, and an honor, to ask extended family members and close family friends to sponsor various items integral to preparing for the day, such as the Quinceañera invitations, kneeling pillow, candles or tiara and special recognition is offered on the day of the party.

By Anne
Anne has been with since 2004 and came to us already knowledgeable about social stationery after previous employment with a wholesale printing firm.
Anne is mom to two young children who keep her busy and dreaming of sleep. But she wouldn't have it any other way!


Name: Illianna
Location: Nebraka
Location: thanks so much im supposed to be one of the damas for my friends quince and i had no idea what i was doing

Name: Cecelia
Location: THANKS!

Name: Hannah
Location: Texaa
Location: Thank you so much I have been chosen as one of my best friends damas and most of my friends are mexican but I have never been at a quinceanera before and was not sure of its role and responsibilities.

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