The quinceanera celebration is quite an old custom. History has it, the first practices of that type were held by the Aztecs, around 500 BC. Nowadays, quinceanera is still popular, especially among people of Latin American origins.
To put it simply, the term quinceanera stands for the ‘girl’s coming of age.’ The very word comes from Spanish, where quince is the equivalent of ‘fifteen’ and anera stands for ‘years’. Traditionally at that day, the girls coming of age are expected to accept the responsibilities of adult life as a woman. For that very reason, the whole tradition is celebrated.
Although it was initially practiced by the Aztecs, nowadays quinceanera seems inherently Christian. Even despite the fact that this is primarily a Catholic celebration, it is observed also by Christians of other denominations. So, as every religious celebration, it starts in a church. The mass that is held there is of huge significance. It is sometimes referred to as a Mass of Thanksgiving and takes place in the family’s church. During the event, the girl that just turned fifteen, is supposed to sit in an honor seat, located close to the altar. She is accompanied by lots of people. It is her parents as well as a group of fourteen other girls (known as damas), each with her own chamberlain. The number fourteen has a special significance here. Each of the girls is to symbolize one of the years in the life of the girl that celebrates her quinceanera. The girls are of approximately the same age as the one that celebrates her fifteenth birthday.
The mass itself has some huge significance attached to it. During its course, the quinceanera girl is supposed to reaffirm the vows made by her parents during her baptism.
As you can see, the quinceanera celebration is full of various symbols. Here, the role of clothes is also of a huge significance. All the damas wear gowns that are strikingly similar to a bridesmaid dress. At the same time, the chamberlain are supposed to wear tuxedos. Due to these rules, the quinceanera celebration might bear some striking similarity to wedding celebrations.
The girl in focus (the one that turns fifteen,) is also supposed to wear a special gown. Traditionally, quinceanera dresses were pink, but nowadays it has changed. Apparently, the girl might put on a dress of whatever color she likes. The quinceanera dresses are also accompanied by a huge number of accessories, including a crown or a ring.