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quinceanera

The quinceanera tradition varies with the country of origin, these are some terms you should be familiar with. 80% of us quinceaneras are of mexican descent.

quinceañera
- celebration of girl’s becoming adult: a Latin American celebration followed by a formal dinner-dance for a 15-year-old girl, marking her passage into adulthood.
chambelanes
- young Hispanic girl’s escort: a boy who is a young girl’s formal escort in a court of honor during her rite of passage welcoming her into adulthood
damas
- formal escort of girl: a girl who is another young girl’s formal escort in a court of honor corte de honor during her rite of passage quinceañera welcoming her into adulthood
padrino
-godfather of girl: a godfather of a young girl who is having a rite of passage party quinceañera welcoming her into adulthood, and who pays for flowers, invitations, and other things. Aka sponsors.
corte de honor
Hispanic group escorting young girl: the group of formal escorts of a young girl at her rite of passage party quinceañera welcoming her into adulthood

La Ceremonia Religiosa/ La Misa:
-A church service, mass or simple blessing, usually catholic but not always. In each country it is different. For example, in Cuba families do not have a church service; Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Central Americans almost always have a church service. Puerto Rican quinceañeras traditionally have a blessing of all the accessories (rosary, shoes, Bible, prayer book, etc.) during the reception. After this blessing, the mother of the quinceañera places a crown on the her head and her father changes her shoes from flats to heels, signifying the change from childhood to young womanhood.

La Recepcion
-Generally following the ceremony is the reception, this is the main party with food, drink and music. It can be arranged around a particular theme, such as Cinderella, Hollywood, flowers, colors, or any favorite thing of the quinceañera. The reception almost always includes the following:

The Introduction of the Court of Honor: Each name of the Court of Honor is announced as they enter into the reception. This is similar to the announcement of a bridal party at a wedding and is generally done by the Master or Mistress of Ceremony, DJ, or bandleader.

La Entrada/The Entrance: In some cultures this is a very dramatic, almost
theatrical moment. In Puerto Rico, the girls walk in on the arm of their Honor Escort to a white peacock chair, where she sits and is crowned and her shoes are changed from flats heels. One Mexican American quinceañera made her arrival on an oversized star which was lowered from the ceiling to the stage.quinceñera location

El Vals/The Waltz: One of the highlights of the reception, this is a very special moment, and is usually practiced months preceding the actual day of the quinceañera. In most cultures, the quinceañera starts dancing (usually to a waltz) with her father. She continues to dance with her father into the second song as her Honor escort dances with her mother. Halfway through the second song, they switch so her escort is dancing with her and her mother is dancing with her father. On the third song, the Court of Honor joins in.

El Brindis/The Toast: The father generally leads the toast, but it can be done by the master or mistress of ceremony, bandleader or Honor Escort.  Mexican quinceaneras lately do another dance with the Copas/Glasses to finish with the grand finale toast.

Vals de los Padrinos/Sponsors Walts: Mexican quinceaneras do a sometimes very long walts where every padrino/sponsor  dances with the quinceanera. This sometimes takes a very long time since very often they are more than 30 padrinos. In some quinceaneras the mayority of people invited to the celebration are padrinos/sponsors.

La Partida del Pastel/ The Cutting of the Cake: The special moment where the family and friends  sing “Feliz Cumpleaños” Happy Birthday to the quinceanera. Don’t be surprised if a chambelan or family member pushes the quinceanera so that her face smashes the cake.

El Baile Sorpresa / The Surprise Dance: This is the dance where every quinceanera chooses a theme and performs a choreographed dance. Sometimes quinceaneras have a choreographer or the quinceanera and chambelanes choreographe themselves.

El Cambio de Zapatillas / Quinceanera Shoe Exchange: This tradition consist of changing the flat shoe to a high hills shoe, signifying the transition from a girl to a grown woman or senorita. This is usually done by the father, where they usually end dancing a song together.

La Coronacion / The Crowning Moment: Tipically the father or mother crown the quinceanera, at this moment also padrinos give her other gifts like jewelry and other quinceanera accesories.

La Ultima Muñeca / The Last Doll: A damita (a kid dama) or the father usually gives the quinceanera her last doll, later the father dances with the quinceanera and the doll.  This is usually a big doll.

El Baile / The Dance: The quinceanera starts off the dance with her fafher or a chambelan. This is the last thing that happens and usually ends at 12 midnight or even later.

The Thank You: The parents of the quinceañera read a thank you to the girl for turning out so beautifully and also to God for bringing her to them and seeing her through every day up to her quinceañera. The girl then reads a thank you to her parents for being there as well as for giving her the party, the sponsors for their contributions and finally to the guests for coming.

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