There’s no question that the quinceanera is a special time not only for the young woman who is going through her rite of passage but this is also a special time for friends and family, as well. Quinceanera traditions have been celebrated and followed throughout several centuries now. The 15th birthday is seen in Latin American culture as that special time when a young girl goes through the rite of passage into young womanhood and begins the next stage of her life.
While times may change, there are many core parts of these traditions that remain an important part of any ceremony.
The Catholic Church Ceremony
One of the earliest Quinceanera traditions, and one that is almost always followed from a traditional family is with the ceremony starting at a local Catholic Church. Since faith has been an important part of history and helped foster a sense of community, it only makes sense that this is where the ceremony would start.
Emphasis is placed on faith, on the responsibility of passing from childhood to adulthood, and on the process of the young woman taking on her new role in the community.
The father-daughter dance isn’t just for weddings – it is also a very important part of the Quinceanera. Traditionally this is seen as the first public dance (although obviously this part has changed in many places in modern times) and is representative of that passing from childhood to adulthood as the father chooses a song important to both of them.
After the dance he passes her off to her date, and that furthers the symbolism of moving from one stage of life to another. While this was often some form of a waltz, this isn’t necessarily going to be the case in every ceremony.
The Special Gown
This only makes sense among all the quinceanera traditions seeing as how the woman of the hour should definitely stick out. After all this is her special day, and for that reason she should have an extremely nice dress that sticks out without being too over the top. This gown should have special importance and might be traditional white or it might be the favorite color or the young woman.
Changing Of Shoes
The changing of shoes is another tradition that seems quaint and cute but is loaded with symbolism as the young lady undoes the shoes of childhood and steps into her first shoes of womanhood. A quick but important part of many ceremonies.
The celebration that follows is always part of the festivities. Not everything needs to stay formal, and friends and family are there to celebrate. This is a special occasion and after the early formal traditions this celebration is seen as acknowledging her success in passing the rite of passage.
There are certain times when it makes sense to go off the beaten path and there are other times when the tradition really matters. Enjoying the traditions of a quinceanera can help you truly respect the amazing nature of these celebrations.