Birthday Tradition: Quinceañera


“Quinceañeras are birthday traditions whenever a girl turns 15 we celebrate. It’s our marking of you entering womanhood and what that is is once the day comes and you turn 15 you have this big party. Everyone gets together…the custom big dress. I think one of the bigger parts of it is you see like a father-daughter dance…it’s a way of showing that this is my little girl and she’s growing up now…she’s not my little girl now. It’s just a way of celebrating with your family…you know that milestone. At the biggest parties you have extended family…family you don’t see often is expected to come. My mom wasn’t able to have one but because of that like it’s really a big deal now that you do have one for your children…it’s expected…it’s tradition.”


One of my roommates is Mexican and she was sharing this birthday tradition many people in Mexico partake in. She had always known of this tradition since she was younger since it had been so prevalent in her community. For a long time she “hated the idea of having [her] own” as she “did not like the idea of being the center of attention.” That being said, she later learned that it was more about being with family and she “focused on doing it for her parents because [her] parents raised [her] and a big part of [her] quince was to thank her parents.”


I think this is a very interesting birthday tradition. In the United States, a sweet 16 is kind of similar to a quinceañera, but at the same time, there is a lot more history behind a quinceañera. This is the time in which a girl transitions from childhood to young womanhood. Quinceañeras are also most prevalent in Mexico, so by having one you are showing your heritage and connection to the Mexican community. The scale of quinceañeras is very large; all the planning and specific features the party includes. Oftentimes the whole family is expected to be there (extended family included) and festivities include dancing, food, and enjoying one another’s company.