The Quinceañera, or Quince Años in Latin American culture, is a coming of age ceremony held on a girl’s fifteenth birthday celebrating her ‘becoming a lady’. The celebration generally begins with a religious ceremony in which the Quinceañera affirms her faith followed by an elaborate reception resembling a wedding. From the procession of the Court of Honor to the first waltz with her father, the day is filled with memories of ceremonies past.
The excitement builds over a several month planning period where items ranging from ball gowns to cakes to quince años invitations and music are selected. Every aspect of the special day is covered by years of tradition and even the smallest detail has a significant meaning. Some unique parties have featured horse drawn carriages and large bouquets of cascading flowers, but not every reception need be that extravagant or costly. Just a few small and inexpensive items can be used to decorate whatever room is chosen, giving the special girl the feeling of being a princess.
The Last Doll is used as part of the ceremony as a decoration and keepsake. In some customs the doll represents her childhood now that the celebrant will begin focusing on her future. Another custom involves a rose. As each young man approaches the young lady to request a dance, he presents her with a rose.
While traditional gifts such as a tiara and scepter (signifying that the young lady is a princess before God), a cross, medal or bible are generally given by parents, godparents or sponsors, remember that this is still basically a big birthday party for a teenager, so anything that you think the young lady would like to receive would be an appropriate gift.