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Coming of Age


Bar Mitzvah & Bat Mitzvah
Sweet Sixteen


The traditional rite of passage for 15-year-old Latinas evolves to incorporate American culture- the Quinceanera. The "quince" (pronounced KEEN-say) has grown in scope and scale over the past few years, a testament to a wealthier generation willing to spend thousands to give their daughters the party of their dreams. Now, Hispanic girls can thumb through quince magazines, attend quince expos and share ideas on quince online chat boards. Some take almost a full year to plan.

Will Cain is the publisher of Quince Girl, a national magazine that launched in March to meet the emerging need for all things quinceanera. The rise of publications and marketing aimed at young Hispanic girls celebrating their quince speaks to the exploding Latino population, Cain said. Approximately 400,000 Hispanic girls turn 15 every year in the U.S. "The quinceanera is something that uniquely ties all those Hispanic ethnic backgrounds," Cain said. "For a tradition that is so common to that dynamic, growing and already large group of people, there was absolutely nothing in the marketplace to help them plan that event. So really, young girls and their mothers who were setting out a process that often takes two to three years had nothing but word of mouth to go on."

There are a number of symbolic ceremonies performed during a quince celebration. Ceremonies includes the changing of the shoes - from flats to high heels - to mark passage into womanhood. The wreath of flowers is replaced with a tiara, another sign of adulthood. Girls also present themselves to their family and friends during Mass. The quince reception typically involves several choreographed dances, such as a waltz and merengue. Sometimes male dance troupes are hired to perform as well.

The quince started as an Aztec custom but was adopted by Spaniards as they conquered Latin America. For Aztecs, the quinceanera signaled that a girl is ready for marriage and the work that accompanies her place in the family. Through the centuries, it has also come to be that a girl's community starts to treat her as a young woman.




Quinceanera boutique

La Fiesta Quinceañera!!

Quinceañera From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


1. Quinceanera de Oro Various Artists January 29.2002 Label- Protel (Universal)

2. Celebrando Quinceanera Various Artists November 16, 1999 Protel (Universal)

3. Quinceanera Original Soundtrack July 25, 2006 Lakeshore Records

Quinceañera Books


Algeria, M. (2006). Estrella's Quinceanera. New York.
Simon and Schuster Publishing.

Estrella is mortified when plans begin for her fifteenth-birthday celebration. She envisions a large, tacky celebration and a gaudy, fufu rufu gown. Even worse, her damas (female escorts) are bitter childhood friends who accuse Estrella of abandoning them since she won a scholarship to a private school in the ritziest neighborhood in San Jose. Then Estrella falls for Speedy, a former grade-school classmate who is also Mexican American, and she feels increasingly conflicted as she moves between her wealthy school friends and the "one big crazy family" of her barrio.


Chambers, V. (2001). Quinceanera Means Sweet Fifteen.

In this sequel to Marisol and Magdalena (Hyperion, 1998), the two 14-year-old Brooklyn friends are looking forward to their quincea-eras that mark their coming-of-age. Magda and her family are planning a huge party and Marisol is upset because her mother cannot afford one. She is also upset because Magda's new friends taunt her and convince her friend to shoplift. Marisol's thoughts and worries about her approaching birthday, her parting from Magda, and a new romance flow realistically. Spanish phrases add flavor to the dialogue. As in the first book, Chambers wraps up all the tensions and problems with ribbons, and Marisol ends by reflecting happily about the quincea-era her family chipped in to give her: "I spent the whole night dancing on a blanket of silver stars


Diocese San Bernardino. (2003). The My 15th Birthday: Teaching Material for Quinceaneras Formation (More for Kids). Pauline Books & Media.

A book to help learn the formations for the Quinceanera to kids. Teaching tool.


Erevia, A. (1980). Religious Celebration for the Quinceanera. Mexican American Cultural Center.

The Religious Ceremony of the Quinceanera. This book tells about the celebration for the fifteenth birthday party for a Hispanic female.


Hoyt-Goldsmith, D., & Migdale, L. (2002). Celebrating a Quinceanera: A Latina's 15 Birthday Celebration. Holiday House.

Cynthia Cuevas is turning 15, which marks a rite of passage for a girl-her quincea-era-the day on which she leaves behind her childhood and becomes a young woman. In this beautifully crafted photo-essay, 10-year-old Ariana helps her cousin prepare for the big day. The eye-catching, full-color photos follow the buildup-from writing and hand delivering invitations, planning a menu, choosing the attendants and dresses, and learning to waltz to the event itself. The clearly written, engaging text conveys both the social and religious significance of the event, including a one-page sidebar on Our Lady of Guadalupe.


Salcedo, M. (1997). Quinceanera!: The Essential Guide to Planning the Perfect Sweet Fifteen Celebration. Henry Holt and Company.

The perfect planning guide for a Quinceanera. This book suggests wonderful ideas for having a great party.


Question- What was your favorite part of your Quinceanera?

Maribel- I liked the dancing with my family.

Sonya- My favorite part was dancing with my father.

Question- What do you remember the most about your day?

Sonya- My uncles woke me up singing Happy Birthday while playing the quitar.

Question- How does the Quinceanera get started?

Maribel- I had a church service that was only for me, for my birthday. The party was after the service. At the party we danced with my family and sponsors. I danced with the doll (to show that I am finished playing with dolls and ready to be an adult). I received gifts and my father put high heeled shoes on me. We ate all during the party.