The Quinceañera

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Mexican-American
Age: 19
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles, California
Date of Performance/Collection: April 2007
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s): Spanish

    “The tradition of quinceañeras started back in the days of the Aztecs.  Young girls were being sacrificed and the ritual showed the transition from girlhood to womanhood.  As time went by, it turned into a ceremony to commemorate a girl turning into a woman.  Families would reserve a church to celebrate the ceremony, and then they would invite special people.  The ceremony would be a day of partying and such.  Also, a girl is required to take classes before the ceremony in order to learn the significance of the process.”

Because Lizzette is from a Hispanic background, the tradition of celebrating girls’ quinceañeras has been a must in her family.  Almost all women have participated in it.  Lizzette’s grandmother, mother, and aunts have all celebrated it.  Currently, her family is preparing for her sister’s fifteenth birthday with a large quinceañera as well.  Lizzette’s own quinceañera was a great moment in her life.  She loved preparing for the ceremony.  She was able to wear a beautiful dress that she still cherishes, eat great food, be the center of attention, and spend time with her relatives and close friends.
Lizzette sees this celebration as a major part of a girl’s life.  Just how some people have a sweet sixteen, a quinceañera is a special part of her upbringing.  A lot of people see it as an excuse to party, but she sees it as an opportunity to grow.  A quinceañera is the moment a girl is revealed as a woman.  With this ceremony, people change the way they act with the birthday girl.  When a girl turns fifteen, she’s seen as more mature and developed.  Lizzette’s quinceañera was extremely important to her because it was a celebration of her transition from childhood to womanhood.
I think that the celebration of a quinceañera is very valuable and should be maintained as a tradition for young girls.  Since this tradition has been preserved for such a long time, it has a special meaning.  Its purpose is actually meaningful.  Acknowledging a woman’s maturity is essential to a woman’s life.  Also, quinceañeras are such a big deal that families invite many people.  This celebration gives families a chance to reunite with loved ones or people they’ve lost in touch with.