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Thursday, November 29, 2012 (read 3310 times)

Sweet Fifteen Celebration in Latin American Countries

by Dilek

Leaving the childhood and becoming a woman is an important phase and Latin American countries have a tradition to celebrate it which is called quinceañera (quince años). The word refers to the girl who reaches her 15th birthday and her transition from childhood to womanhood.

This old tradition goes back to the time of Mayan and Aztec tribes, young ladies who reach the age of 15 means they are ready to matrimony. The ritual then gets a Catholic version and is celebrated as an introduction of the young ladies as adult women to society, which in a way looks like the cotillion. In Dominican Republic the cotillion part (Baile de Debutantes) is more in the center than the religious ceremony. Almost in every Latin American country it is celebrated in the same way. The protagonist of the day, the young girl starts to search for a ball gown, shoes matching to her fancy dress and accessories. It is not an ordinary day so they must look like princess and shine all day.

The celebration starts with the entrance of the girl with her father at the church. The girl is accompanied by 14 friends that 7 of them are ladies (damas) along with 7 chamberlains. Also Quinceañera has a chamberlain to have the first waltz after the Thanksgiving mass (misa).  Generally kids celebrate their birthdays with Piñata and since Quinceañera leaves her childhood this is the last time she plays with a piñata. They serve the most delicious and traditional food to the guests.

The mexican girls can not dance in a public event before their 15th birthday on this very day the waltz has a deeper meaning. She has the first dance with the father if missing with a relative or a close friend of the family. The Mariachis usually plays the song Las Mañanitas after the waltz or the at the Cake hour. People bring presents and give them before or after the waltz and most of the time they give La Muñeca (Doll) or a surprise present.     

Another custom is changing the shoes (Cambio de los zapatos). At the beginning of the ceremony the girl has ordinary shoes representing her juvenility then her father or elder brother changes the shoes with high heel ones as a symbol of femininity.

It is such an exciting tradition for young girls to be under the spotlight and celebrate this turning point of their life in a festival mood. Check out the video below to see the main waltz of the Quinceañera with chamberlains.

Keywords: quinceanera,pinata,mariachi,latinamerican countries,mexican traditions

Posted In: Latin America


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