A Quinceanera or fiesta de quince anos is an important and popular celebration in most parts of South America. Hispanic girls celebrate their 15th birthday very lavishly (sometimes these parties cost more than weddings); and it is also quite a religious ceremony. A quinceanera is usually started with a Holy Mass at a Catholic Church then it is proceeded with a reception consisting of dance numbers, special presentations, and a delicious feast.
This celebration is also incomplete without receiving some special gifts. It is tradition for the celebrant to receive the following:
- Tiara - “triumph over childhood”
- Cross or Medal - “signifies faith in God”
- Bible - “to keep God in her life”
- Scepter - “symbolizes authority and responsibility”
Sometimes these gifts are presented by the padrinos or the sponsors who have a significant importance in the young lady’s life/childhood.
One of the many customs admirable about quinceaneras is the Changing of the Shoes. The father or father figure of the girl ceremoniously changes her shoes from flats to high heels; to symbolize her becoming a young lady. It is quite a simple thing to do, but it holds a lot of meaning and importance.
To give you an idea on how amazing and fun quincenearas are, here is a video of the highlights of a young girl’s 15th birthday party: