What is a Quinceañera?

Written by Emily Meneses

Most Americans today know what a Sweet Sixteen party is and then again, most do not know what a Quinceñera is.

The difference?

American 16th birthday party versus a Latin 15th fiesta de cumpleaños.

Well, that is just the basic idea.

A Quinceañera basically is a celebration for a Latina girl’s transition from childhood to adulthood. Her parents celebrate this big milestone with a Mass, which is a Catholic church celebration, followed by a huge party.

In the Mass some girls only receive a blessing, the priest follows the usual tradition with the opening prayer dedicated to the Quinceañera along with two readings, Jeremiah 1:4-10 and 1 Corinthians 1:3-9, and a Gospel reading, Luke 17:11-19. A homily is then given by the priest over a certain topic, mine was not being so critical of other people which doesn’t really apply to me, but oh well.

He then orders for the gifts to be given to the girl. The gifts are a Medal, Rosary, Bible, Flowers, and her Crown.

The Quinceañera then renews her baptismal promises and proceeds to take part in Communion.

The final part of the Quinceañera mass is where the girl says a prayer to the Virgin Mary.

After a lot of pictures with her family and friends, the Quinceañera moves elsewhere, to start the true party.

The main celebration begins with the introduction of the Court, the Chambelanes/Caballeros, godparents, parents, and the Quinceañera.

Then, the Quinceañera moves on to do the traditional vals with her father and her Chambelanes.

Most girls have a high-energy surprise dance immediately after the vals, but I didn’t because I still can barely walk.

Afterwards, there is a toast to the girl, and parents/godparents give thanks to everyone there.

Then it is the Quinceañera who gives the most thanks. Sometimes, she is given 15 roses to give to 15 people she loves or has been influenced by in her life.

Finally, the real party begins, after dinner of course, and gozar until your feet hurt.

Honestly, I thought the party was going to be a fail, but after everyone came up to me saying, “This was the best party I’ve ever attended in my life,” I came to believe enjoying myself for a few hours wasn’t so bad after all.


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