Latinas Celebrate their Quinceaneras

Imagine entering a salon and seeing a curly-haired teen with her makeup done and wearing an elegant ballgown with beaded bodice and puffy like cotton candy. Her fiesta de quince años or “quinceanera” is about to begin. A Latina’s fifteenth birthday is unique because it marks her transition from child to young woman.

“In the first half of the day, you are presented as a little girl, and when you are being crowned, you feel like a princess,” Citlaly Ceniceros, 9th, said. “After that, you dance with your father, and that’s when you know you are now a young woman because your father accepts it.”

Making their families and fathers proud is important to the Latinas.

“A quinceanera is special because it shows your family and friends that you respect yourself and that you are a good daughter,” Giselle Araujo, 9th, said.

Planing a quince can be stressful.

“The most stressful part was finding a dress,” Citlaly said. “They couldn’t order the dress I wanted, and the color I wanted, lilac, was difficult to find because it is so rare.”

Iris Ponce, 9th, who will enjoy her quinceanera in October, is already feeling the stress but is excited as well.

“We’re planning the food, place, songs, guys or “padrinos,” etc., because we have to get everything ready early,” Iris said. “I”m excited about going to Texas to find decorations and getting inside a limo [on the day of the event].”

Iris also sees what makes a quincenera a special part of Latin culture.

“You feel like a princess in your big dress, and it’s your day to shine!” Iris said.

Abetzy Barron, 9th, who is planning her June event to have stars and red and gold colors, looks forward to no longer being considered “a little girl.”

“The most exciting part is having a day all about me and a lot of people being there,” Abetzy said. “I’m most excited about getting to dance with my court and my dad because it will bring us closer together.”

At the thanksgiving mass, the quinceanera receives a rosary or locket from her godparents and is crowned with a tiara to show that she will always be a princess. Next comes the reception. First, the quinceanera makes her grand entrance with her court of honor that includes her closest friends — damas (females) and chamberlanes (males). Everyone then enjoys a meal, often of chicken in mole sauce, rice and beans, and pasta salad. Afterwards, either the parents or godparents toast the quinceanera. Next, she dances with her father first and then waltzes with her chamberlanes. Once the dance starts, it won’t end until midnight.

“The most exciting part of my quinceanera was when I opened my surprise gift because I was expecting to get a lot of make-up and I did,” Giselle said. “After the event, I felt really tired and relieved that everything came out good.”

Sometimes the best thing is not having to stress anymore.

“After the event I felt a huge relief because I was done stressing out about everything,” Citlaly said.