Quinceañera Traditions

Today's ceremonies embrace religious traditions, and the virtues of family and social responsibility. The custom is a celebration of the young girl (la Quinceanera), and a recognition of her journey from childhood to maturity. The celebration highlights God, family, friends, music, food, and dance.

In the Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central and South American traditions, the custom can be referred to as a Quince (XV) Años, a Quinces, or a Quinceanera. The celebration traditionally begins with a religious ceremony. A reception is held in the home or a banquet hall. The festivities include food and music, and in most, a choreographed waltz or dance performed by the Quinceanera and her court.

The Quinceanera's court can be comprised of young girls (called a Dama), young men (called Chambelán or Escorte or Galán) or a combination of both - traditionally up to 14 persons in the court, which with the Quinceanera, would total 15 young people.

The Quinceanera traditionally wears a ball gown, with her court usually dressed in gowns and tuxedos. Guests usually receive small tokens, cápias and cerámicas, to commemorate the celebration.

It is customary for the Quinceanera to receive the following gifts for her ceremony:

tiara
bracelet or ring
earrings
cross or medal or necklace
Bible or Prayer Book and Rosary

Other possible accessories for this special occasion might be:

flower bouquet
cake decoration
engraved cake server set
engraved champagne glasses
Quinceanera doll
scepter
XV guest registry book
XV remembrance photo album
invitations/reception cards
XV gift pillows

There are many traditions throughout the celebration. At the church ceremony, an XV pillow specially decorated with the Quinceanera's name, is placed in position for the young girl to kneel on during the ceremony. Smaller decorated pillows are also used for the presentation of the Quinceanera's gifts. At the reception, there is always the toast to the Quinceanera, known as the brindis. With specially decorated champagne glasses for the Quinceanera, the guests are invited to offer their congratulations and best wishes. The Quinceanera Doll, symbolizing the perfection of the event and the Quinceanera, is used as both a decoration and a keepsake. In some customs, the cápias (printed ribbons with the Quinceanera's name and date) are pinned to the doll, and the Quinceanera circulates among her guests, thanking them for their presence and presenting them with a memento taken from the doll.

The XV Años is a glorious celebration that remains a cherished and honored tradition.