Bonardi's Formalwear


A Celebration of Latina Womanhood

Sweet 15

The Quinceaños, or la fiesta Quinceañera, is a rite of passage for fifteen-year-old Latina girls. It is a community and family celebration full of tradition and meaning when a young girl is symbolically escorted into womanhood by her family and the event is witnessed by her community. The word itself comes from the Spanish quince, "fifteen," and años, "years." The origins of the Quinceañera are often attributed to the ancient customs of the Aztecs, but the ceremony and meaning behind it are similar to other ancient cultural initiation rites that occurred throughout the world. Fifteen was the age when many young women left their family home to become wives and then mothers, and almost as though passing through an invisible door, a Latina enters her Quinceañera as a child but emerges as a young woman with new responsibilities. Those who know and love her will see and treat her differently from that day forward.

For Latinas from Latin America and Puerto Rico, this is an old and revered tradition. The celebration as we know it today in the United States became popular in the 1930's and continues , even flourishing in communities where custom ritual rekindle ethnic and family ties. But Quinceañeras, like mostly strongly held traditions, is not a static event, and the ways it is celebrated are changing with the times. Now many girls have combined the "American" concept of "sweet sixteen" with what would have been their Quinceañera. A Barbie Quinceañera doll in some cases replaces the handmade última muñeca, and families are beginning to celebrate the "coming of age" of their sons, too. These blendings of cultures can be found in many aspects of our traditional lives. Some have to do with the breakdown of traditional life, and some with a world of changing cultural mores. In whatever form it may take , a Quinceñera, is a very special event happening only once in a girl's life, so it is a time for rejoicing in the miracle of life and reaffirming one's commitment to family, friends, tradition, and community.

The Quinceañera has two parts - the mass and the fiesta - and both events are filled with symbolic gestures and moments. Like most celebrations, the extent to which the Quinceañera is celebrated has as much to do with social class and family status as the individual wishes of the birthday girl. But there are some aspects that are common to all Quinceañeras.

The most symbolic act during the Quinceañera is the changing of the shoes. The girl's father switches her shoes, from the flats she arrived in, to the high heels she will leave in. Shoes and crowns play a pivotal role in the birthday girl's transformation in the eyes of the community from girl to young woman.

At the fiesta, the father dances with his daughter and then the mother takes her and dances with her until they get to the make-believe throne. The crown is put on her head by the mother, and when the girl is sitting, the father comes and takes off her sandals and puts on the high heels. Then the father takes his princess out to dance again and from there the party continues.

The Quinceañera is important because from that day on the sweet fifteen girl can find a good path to become a better person with new ideas, because until that day everything was made easy for her, everything was beautiful. Now she will grow up to be a matured person with many responsibilities.

Bonardis Tuxedos

Bonardis Tuxesos