Quinceanera Celebration

Informant Info:

  • Nationality: Mexican 
  • Residence: Los Angeles 
  • Primary language: English and Spanish 


E.S said, “In my culture, once a young girl turns 15 they have a big party that could be considered a rite of passage, it’s called a Quinceanera.” This party is meant to symbolize the transition from a young girl to a woman. In the party there are multiple traditional processes that really resemble that of a wedding. As E.S explained, you start with mass at a church, then at the party you have the father daughter dance, the taking off of the shoes and into heels, etc. In some parties, they’re given this porcelain doll that represents or encapsulates their childhood, and at the end they have a surprise dance that’s very entertaining. The quinces in Mexico are somewhat different from the fact that as they move from the church to the reception, the whole group/family parade through the street with a live mariachi to the venue. Sometimes the quinceanera is in a carriage or on a horse. The invite is also not very exclusive as the whole community is invited. E.S recalls one time she attended a Quince, “I once went to a quince in Mexico where we didn’t know anyone, we were complete strangers and they still fed us and treated us like family.” The party allows for community bonding and the celebration of womanhood!


I deeply resonated with E.S’s relation to Quinceaneras because it is a well known tradition and celebration in my culture as well. Quinceaneras are indeed a rite of passage because the whole purpose of the celebration is to acknowledge the young girl’s transition from that into womanhood. Since I was a child, I attended various Quinceaneras from family members and acquaintances. I agree with E.S in the fact that the celebration is pretty welcoming to everyone, even if you aren’t directly related to the young girl being celebrated. I also vividly remember the surprise dances at these Quinceaneras, and they are indeed one of the parts of the celebration everyone looks forward to seeing the most. The Quinceanera does the surprise dance with her Corte de Honor, which consists of Chambelanes and Damas. The father and daughter dance is very special, and it usually makes a lot of people very emotional. While this celebration is very fun, it is also deeply sentimental for everyone because the now young woman is no longer a little girl.