The Meaning of a QUINCEANERA
The Quinceanera tradition dates back more than 600 years to when
the Aztec and Mayan cultures celebrated when a young girl became
eligible to marry, have children, and take on the responsibilities
of a woman in the community. Eventually, the tradition was
influenced by the Spaniards, and a Catholic connection emerged. More
recently, non-Catholic churches have also begun to offer religious
ceremonies for Quinceanera's. While the religious ceremony is a vital
part of the Quinceanera for many Latino families, today some choose
to have a reception only.
For those that celebrate in the church first, the ceremony
comprises a very important part of the event. The church ceremony,
and all of the preparation leading up to it, can provide a wonderful
opportunity for the Quinceanera's priest or minister to discuss with
her the growing responsibilities she takes on as a woman of faith.
The ceremony serves to remind her of her devotion to God, and it
includes a rededication of her baptismal vows.
Many of the traditional gifts presented to the
Quinceanera by her
parents and her your Godfather (Godparents) at her church ceremony are
symbols of faith. The tiara placed on her head signifies her
standing as a princess in the eyes of God. The Quinceanera earrings
remind her to listen to Gods word. The bracelet represents the
unbroken nature of Gods love: it is unceasing. The scepter
represents her acceptance of the responsibilities of being a woman.
She also receives a patron saint medal, rosary, or Quinceanera Bible
to remind her of her foundation in faith. These items represent her
tools for navigating through life as a woman of faith.
The Bible is an important gift for every Quinceanera. It is the
basis of the Quinceanera's faith and is a place for her to run to
for advice and companionship throughout her adult life.
The Rosary is an important aspect of the Catholic faith, and is
often presented on this occasion to assist the Quinceanera with her
prayers. In addition to or in place of the rosary, the Quinceanera
may receive a patron saint medal to wear as a reminder of the
importance of her faith and religious tradition in her life.
The Ring serves much the same purpose as the bracelet, it symbolizes
Gods unending love. The Quinceanera may receive one or both of
these items. Often the ring and bracelet will be part of a matching
The Tiara (or corona) symbolizes that the Quinceanera is a princess
in the eyes of God. The tiara usually replaces a simple headpiece
that the Quinceanera wears into the ceremony. She may receive her
corona at the church ceremony, or during the reception. Your priest
or minister can help you determine which events should occur in the
church ceremony, and which are reserved for the reception.
The last doll is another traditional symbol that embodies a great
deal of meaning. The last doll, or ultima muņeca, represents the
leaving behind of her childhood and the toys of a young girl, in
exchange for more grown-up responsibilities and interests. The last
doll can be given by the your Godfather or the parents.
The Bracelet is also a symbol of Gods unending love. The parents or
your Godfather may present a bracelet to the Quinceanera. While the
bracelet may be of any style. Many popular choices include something
with a charm, a Christian Symbol, a simple bangle, or a special
Quinceanera bracelet with a ?15? charm or symbol.
The earrings serve to remind the young woman to keep her ears tuned
to the word of God. They may be presented by your Godfather or the
parents. If presented at the church ceremony, the priest or minister
will bless them along with the other gifts. The earrings can be in
any style and are usually something very special for the young
The Quinceanera begins her ceremony in flat heels, symbolic of her
childhood. Usually during the reception, her father will kneel at
her feet as she sits in a special chair. He will remove the low
heeled shoes of her childhood and replace them with her first high
heeled shoes. It is typically from this point forward that she is
allowed to wear high heeled shoes