In Latin American cultures, the transition from girlhood to womanhood is a special time, not only for a girl herself, but for her family and even community. Traditionally, in the eyes of Latin American communities, the 15th birthday has marked the point of a girl’s maturity. So, to celebrate this significant birthday, families throw elaborate birthday parties called quinceañeras. This is similar to a “sweet 16” party in the United States, but the quinceañera tradition has older roots and religious implications, making it more similar to a bat mitzvah from the Jewish tradition. Today’s quinceañera has evolved into elaborate celebrations that rival glamorous weddings.
- The typical price tag for a quinceañera today is about $15,000. That’s a sharp increase from a decade ago when the typical celebration cost between $5,000 and $10,000.
- Quinceañeras today incorporate more colors and jewelry than they used to. Traditionally, girls would stick with white or light pink dresses.
- The event is no longer exclusively for Latin American families, or those who are particularly religious. Many now skip the traditional Mass altogether.
- For generations, the tiara has been very symbolic of the quince celebration itself. Now, girls use anything that can go on your hair – whether that’s a headband that has some type of embroidery, or even feather-head pieces.
Quinceañeras, Sweet 16, and bat mitzvahs are all very special occasions. I still remeber my 16th birthday party. Comment below and tell me about the event that marked your entrance into adulthood.