Quinceanera’s: A Party of a Lifetime

Eliana Flores, Editor In Chief

Every Latina girl dreams of having a Quinceanera starting at the age of 5. The big ball gown dress, the extravagant party, and everything else that comes with a Quinceanera. 

A quinceanera is a celebration of when a 15 year old girl becomes a woman and makes the transition of being a child and now becoming a woman. 

The history of a quinceanera started in the 1500’s when the Spanish came over from Spain and explored South America and Mexico. The tradition of celebrating womanhood went with the Spanish which then influenced the Mexican and South American heritage.  The tradition has been going on ever since. Even though a quinceanera is still important today it is more of a tradition than it is a necessity. 

The whole family helps with the party, and it takes up to a year and a half to plan this special day. The family usually helps with being a sponsor or what is better known as a “padrino.” A sponsor or padrino usually helps financially with the cake, dessert table, invitations, a replica of the girl in the dress, a bible, rosary, or anything that one would need in the event.

The dress is the highlight of the celebration. Traditionally, in Mexico, the dress is typically white, or light pastel colors. But as generations have changed, so have traditions of the celebration. Girls within the Mexican culture are now changing the color of the dress to more vibrant colors such as royal blue, burgundy, or even red. There is also a petticoat, or crinolina, which makes the dress have that signature poof that every girl loves.  

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A traditional quinceanera dress.

There is a lot that you have to plan for in advance. You should first choose the venue of where you are going to have your Quinceanera. Next, you should choose the church you are going to have your ceremony at. Then you should have a DJ, an event planner, bakers and caterers, a hair stylist, makeup artist, your dress selection, a guest list, party favors, and optionally a candy table, a date to have it on. You traditionally should also have a court that traditionally consists of 14 people (boys and girls), it is optional to have 28 people in your court, but if you want to stick to tradition that’s how many people you want to have. You should also have a choreographer to help you plan your dances and help you practice them, a sponsor, a photographer, and of course, invitations. You should also have a speech to say to everyone who showed up, and your parents have to create a slideshow (with images of their choice).  

The mass of a Quinceanera lets the parents publicise the quinceanera as a gesture of gratitude for the gift of life. The key elements of the Mass are the act of thanks and blessings that are given.

Even though you might want to have a quinceanera, there are some difficulties of having one. One difficulty of having a huge party is the very large price tag. According to the Los Angeles Times, a Quinceanera can cost about 8,000 dollars or more. With the venue, the church, your dress, and all the essentials needed, the price can add up. Another thing that could make one second guess having a Quinceanera is the pressure of being the centre of attention. At a “Quince,” the one that the party is dedicated to is the centre of attention, if you don’t like that then it may feel a little bit awkward. Another reason why you might not a “Quince,” is because you have to dance a lot. I know that I don’t like dancing, but if you are a fast learner, it won’t be that hard to do.  

But why are quinceaneras important to have? 8th Grader Ximena Alfaro commented, “I think that a Quinceanera is a very important thing to have because it’s a special moment that you will never forget.” 

What is so special about a quinceanera? Well, the New York Times says, “Widely celebrated among Latinos, the quinceañera marks an important milestone in a girl’s life. Part birthday party, part rite of passage, it symbolizes a girl’s entrance into womanhood when turning 15, traditionally showcasing her purity and readiness for marriage. But the quinceañera has also been Americanized. And the increasingly elaborate celebrations reflect the changing landscape of Latinos in the United States.”

In the end, a Quinceanera is a really important event to have because it celebrates very important things in South America, Spanish, and Mexican tradition. It celebrates a time in a girl’s life when she is ready to become a woman. Any advice for people who are going to have a quinceanera is to not go overboard at the party and to keep it simple. Another piece of advice is to keep it your personality, and do what you like, don’t let other people dictate on what music to have or what you should include.