Our first blog series will be about the Quinceañera, the time honored traditional celebration of a girl’s 15th birthday in Latin American Culture. This birthday is one of the most important in a girl’s life, as it marks the formal coming of age and the transition from child to woman in the eyes of the community. It is traditionally a Catholic tradition, although in recent years, it is has become a tradition in Latin communities, regardless of religious affilitation.
According to a long held oral tradition, the Quinceañera came about during the middle to late 1800’s, when girls were considered adults at 15 and expected to either marry or become nuns. Traditionally, the end of childhood begins at the onset of puberty, at which time the girl is expected to put away childish things and learn all the things necessary to run a household after marriage. Starting around age 10, girls would be taught to cook, sew, care for children and other basic household tasks under the tutelage of the older women in the community.
At 15, the girl would be considered to be old enough to be married and would, in a world without digital communication, need to be introduced to society as an eligible woman. Thus, the Quinceañera was born!
In some countries, the party is a small affair and may include examples of the girl’s skills, such as a feast prepared by her and her family or singing performed in front of the community. On other countries, it is more of lavish affair that is more of a debutante ball filled with music, fancy dresses and lavish cakes.
However it is celebrated, you can be sure that it is a tradition that will continue on throughout the years, continuously evolving with current trends times.