La Quinceañera, (or sometimes mistakenly spelled quincenera) the sweet 15 party that symbolizes the beginning of womanhood in Latin communities around the world, is a dream of many young Latinas and their families.
Although many families are combining new traditions with the old and even having Sweet 16 Quinces, the Latin roots are preserved.
The preparations for this coming out party are elaborate - from the traditions, dancing
and food to the tiaras, dresses and favors.
Some of the traditions are sweet good-byes to the little girl... a last doll, a dance with daddy... and some celebrate the young woman that the child has become.
Tiaras and gowns are normally worn by the sweet 15 star, but many modern young women will show up in more relaxed clothes and sneakers! There are no rules that say the Quince girl can't add her own style to the day. Traditional Latin music can be mixed with hip hip or house - or your favorite musical style - whatever it is.
Many quince celebrations begin with a Catholic Mass
by an elaborate party with friends and family.
Every detail is important and every woman in the family will have some ideas and advice to give. If the advice starts to make you crazy, just remember that it's YOUR special day and you get to make the decisions.
The party is a celebration of the fact that you are not a little girl anymore... and today's woman makes her own decisions and shows her own personality in everything she does.
If your family worries that your day will be ruined... remind them that even the most simple or untraditional Quinceanera makes memories that last a lifetime.
Not every girl will want a spectacular celebration, just as not every woman wants a big, expensive wedding. There are many young Latinas who have elaborate parties just to make their parents happy. If you decide to go along with your parent's and relatives' ideas to have a strictly traditional celebration, that's wonderful... as long as it makes you happy, too.
expense of a major party may be a problem for some families, but friends with sewing skills, a bit of creative planning and well crafted home made decorations can mean having a traditional Quinceañera and staying within anyone's budget!
Instead of an expensive wedding type cake, you can bake and serve specially decorated cupcakes, or follow directions for baking and decorating a homemade wedding cake. (It's really not that hard and you'll find plenty of your friends and relatives have baking skills to make it easier.)
Whether you're dreaming of the most traditional Quinceañera
or opting for a backyard picnic to mark the event, these sites will help with planning the party and explaining what the real meaning is...
Your Quinces - Everything you need for the Quince is here. They only list venues - restaurants and halls - for South Florida, but the Quinceanera's Headquarters
has music, themes plus a message board. Check out the photo section for pictures of past events.
Sweet 15 - This site focuses on Dominican customs and includes a basic overview of the Quinceañera and how it is celebrated - includes places to shop in
the Dominican Republic.
Quinceanera-Traditions - A nice guide to the customs - why different gifts are given and what they mean, what the tiara and other symbols stand for.