La Quinceanera- written for cultural anthropology class to share a cultural ritual experience.

Essay by Preci28University, Bachelor'sA+, July 2004

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In Puerto Rico, Cuba, Mexico and other Latin American countries a girl's entrance into womanhood and her eligibility for marriage is celebrated at her Quinceañera. "From a North of the Boarder viewpoint, it may be seen as a cross between a Sweet 16 and a debutante's coming out party." (Palfrey). The origins of the Quinceañera can be traced back to the time of the Aztecs. "It was traditional for the parents of a young Aztec maiden to formally acknowledge her passage into womanhood. This would include a stern but tender exhortation of the passage." (Palfrey). The planning for a Quinceañera is done well ahead of time, sometimes in years before the actual event. The event can cost upwards of that of a small wedding. The Quinceañera is important because from the 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." (Alomar and Zwolinski).

One of the most important processes of the Quinceañera celebration is choosing a dress. The dress is usually custom-made or bought at a specialty store. "Like the wedding gown, the Quinceañera dress marks a change in the wearer's status." (La Quinceañera). Dresses vary in color, with the traditional Quinceañera dress color being white. "In Central America, Cuba and in Puerto Rico the dress is invariably pink or at least a pastel shade such as lavender, blue, or yellow." (La Quinceañera). Some of the most important people in the traditional celebration include padrinos de velacion who in the past will pay for the mass, the madrina de anillo who gives the girl a birthstone ring, the madrina de medalla who will the...