Quinceanera Traditions

Deb Ng

Quinceanera traditions are very important to those celebrating this event. Quinces, as they're commonly called, celebrate a young Hispanic teen's graduation into womanhood. A Quinceanera is a party held to mark a fifteenth, or sometimes sixteenth, birthday party. This isn't your ordinary sweet fifteen, however. Quinces take as much planning as a wedding, and can turn into quite the lavish affair. It's no wonder young Hispanic ladies eagerly anticipate their Quinces.

As you can probably imagine, a party of this magnitude is steeped in tradition. From special dances and masses to special gifts, Quinceanera traditions abound.

Quinceanera Court

The "Quinces Court" is sort of like a bridal party. It's made up of up to fourteen young women (damas) and young men (Chambelán). While Quinces aren't always formal affairs, the Quinceanera and her court all dress in ball gowns and tuxedos. The gowns worn by the damas will all match, but the Quinceanara will choose white or a color that makes her stand out from the rest. As the guest of honor and her court enter the reception hall, their names are formally introduced and they will entertain the guests with a choreographed dance routine.

Quinceanera Waltz

Another Quinceanera tradition is the Quinceanera waltz. The birthday girl, her escort and the Quinces court will dance a special dance, usually a waltz. Many hosts will pay big money for the Quinces Court to take professional ballroom dance lessons to put on an entertaining presentation. The Quinceanera is also expected to dance with her father, another time-honored tradition.

Quinceanera Gifts

Traditional gifts for the Quinceanera include:

  • A tiara - The guest of honor will be crowned by her parents during a special ceremony while the Quinces is in progress. This symbolizes her role as "princess" for the day but also her entry into adulthood.
  • A scepter signifying her graduation into adulthood and symbolizing responsibility.
  • A Rosary
  • A bible
  • A cross or other religious medallion to remind her of her faith.
  • A bracelet and/or a ring
  • Earrings to remind her to listen to God.

Quinceanera Toast

The Quinceanera's father leads the guests in a toast to his daughter. He'll generally reflect with pride and also congratulate his daughter on her ascent into adulthood. Others can offer toasts as well including the bandleader, her escort and the master of ceremonies.

Quinceanera Doll

No Quinceanera would be complete without the presentation of the Quncineanera doll. At the reception, the Quinceanera's parents will present her with a beautiful porcelain doll. This is her "last doll", a symbol of her growing up.

Other Quinceanera Traditions

Before the event itself, the Quinceanera and her court, family and friends will most likely attend a special mass. The mass is not only to bestow blessings upon the fifteen year old, but also so she can give thanks to God for her life and all good things. The Quinceanera will carry a formal floral bouquet into the mass with her, but leave it behind as she exits, to be replaced by the scepter, helping to shed her childish image. She'll present herself in public as a responsible adult. Before she leaves for her party, the teen's father will help her change from flat-soled shoes to high heels, symbolizing her rise into adulthood.

More Quinceanera Accessories

  • An engraved cake serving set.
  • Decorative pillows which will be used for kneeling during the crowning and to present the Quinceanera with her gifts.
  • Champagne glasses for the toast.
  • A Photo album containing professional photos of the special day.

The Quinceeanera is one of the most important events in a young Hispanic woman's life. It makes sense then, that the Quince contains so many traditional ceremonies and elements.

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Quinceanera Traditions