The 15th birthday is a coming-of-age celebration in the Hispanic culture that involves several unique quinceanera rituals and traditions. There are many different symbols utilized in the celebration that represent different things. During the quince party, family members, uncles, aunts, cousins, and family friends are all invited to take part in these various rituals.
Perhaps the most symbolic of all traditions at the quinceanera, the gown represents that this young girl is now a young woman called a senora and available for marriage.
The headpiece that is worn at the quinceanera is known as the tiara, or diadema, and usually has a matching nosegay. The tiara symbolizes that the person wearing it is considered to be a princess in God’s eyes. The tiara can replace a traditional headpiece worn at the celebration, and can be given in a ceremony at the church or during the reception afterwards. The minister or priest will be able to better explain what events can take place inside the church and which will be better served at the reception.
One of the most important gifts given to the young lady during the quinceanera is her bible. This cherished gift is the basis of Hispanic faith and will be something that she can turn to for companionship and advice all through her life.
Gifts of jewelry to be given to the young lady on her quinceanera range from earrings, bracelets, rings, or religious medals. The religious medal has major significance because it not only indicates her faith, it can be a marker for her cultural heritage. Our Lady of Guadalupe medals are common gift items at quince parties.
The earrings hold huge significance during the quinceanera. They remind this beautiful young lady to keep her ears in tune with the word of God as she turns into an adult. If they are presented during the ceremony at the church, the priest can bless them before the parents present them. The style of the earrings is usually in line with the individual taste of the birthday girl.
Presented to assist with prayers, the rosary is especially symbolic in the Catholic faith. Many times a patron saint medal is given in addition to or in place of the rosary, to be worn as a reminder of religious tradition and the importance of her faith. Non-Catholics usually receive necklaces in place of the rosary to remind them of their connection to Jesus Christ during their journey of faith.
Symbolizing God’s never-ending love, the parents usually present the bracelet during the quinceanera celebration after the church. Many popular choices of bracelets for the young lady range from a simple bangle, charm bracelet, one with a Christian symbol, or one specifically created to remind her of the quinceanera.
Serving the same purpose as the bracelet, the ring symbolizes the unconditional and unending love of God. Many times the parents will present their girl with a set that contains both the bracelet and a special ring.
Other Symbolic Quinceanera Rituals
The quinceanera is full of other symbolic rituals that represent this little girl going from a child to her new journey as an adult. The first waltz with her father, the first toast with alcohol, receiving her last doll, and changing her flat shoes to high heels, all represent the transformation to womanhood.
The Last Doll
One of the more emotional gifts to be given at the quinceanera is the doll. This doll must be carefully chosen because it will be the last this girl is given before she turns to a young woman. This little ceremony of giving her the last doll represents leaving behind her childhood and all the toys she enjoyed as a little girl in exchange for grown-up interests and responsibilities. The parents usually present the last doll, and this can be a very emotional moment for everyone in the room, especially the father.
The young lady will begin the quinceanera wearing her flat shoes, representing a young girl in her childhood. During the reception, the young lady will sit in a special chair with her father kneeling in front of her. He will remove her flat shoes and replace them with her first set of new high heels. From this point forward she can wear the high heels as she continues her journey through life.
Need help planning your quinceanera party? The Wesley Center has helpful articles on themes, order of events, food planing, invitations and more! We also provide an event facility for parties in the Clermont FL area.