Are you preparing for your quince and wondering what some of the traditions are? Read on to learn more about some basic quinceanera traditions.
A quince court, or Court of Honor, are selected to share in the special day of the quinceanera. They are boys and girls who are family or friends of the quinceanera. The traditional amount is a pretty huge court: 14 damas, 14 chambelanes and 1 chambelan de honor. Very common is the court with 7 damas, 7 chambelanes and 1 chambelan de honor.
More recently, it has become perfectly acceptable to build the court to suit your needs. Maybe you have 4 damas, 4 chambelanes and 1 chambelan de honor. Or, maybe you have all damas and a chambelan de honor. It’s your call–it’s your day and it’s best to do what makes the most sense for your situation
The first part of a traditional quinceanera is a religious ceremony. The mass is a time of celebration and prayer for the quinceanera. There are readings the quinceanera will recite during the ceremony. She will also be presented with gifts during the ceremony. Gifts include one or more of the following: pillow, cross, rosary, Bible, tiara, or other item with meaning. The quince court will be seated in one of the first pews in the church, and parents of the quinceanera and immediate family will also sit in the front.
Similar to a wedding, following church is the actual reception. If a church service is not part of the event, the quinceanera starts at the party. The party could take place at any kind of venue, from a private home to a grand ballroom, a party in a tent, banquet hall, to even a destination quinceanera. The reception will involve a combination of dinner and dancing.
Probably the most well known quinceanera tradition, a large, fancy ball gown is what quinceaneras typically wear for their big day. This is one of the most amazing parts of the party planning: finding the perfect quinceanera dress. For a long time, most quinceanera dresses were strapless style. Recently, the trend has shifted and although strapless is still popular, other styles are also common. Many dresses feature sleeves, sequins and appliques, cap sleeves, multiple layers. The dresses available now in 2022 are exquisite, and often are quite expensive.
It is a tradition for the quinceanera to carry a ramo, or bouquet. It can be artificial, real, or even made of surprise elements, like paper flowers.
There are two formal dances. The first is the father/ daughter dance. The second is a dance performed by the quinceanera and her court. It is usually choreographed (either by a professional, or by an “expert” family member or friend). It will be the first dance of the evening, and takes place after the meal. After the Waltz, a lot of the pressure is off and you can really enjoy your party! Popular waltzes for quinceaneras are Vals de las Mariposas (Cheyo Carillo), Es Mi Nina Bonita (Vicente Fernandez) and Tiempo de Vals (Chayanne). You can choose any songs you want, and in English or Spanish.
Padrinos and Madrinas
Padrinos and madrinas are patrons of your quinceanera. This means they will play a special role in your day by sponsoring a specific item, such as your ramo, tiara, quinceanera cake, food, venue rental and so on. Family members, close family friends, and possibly church members will serve as padrinos. There will be Padrinos de Honor, essentially the main padrinos for the event. They will play a role in the quinceanera ceremony, stand with the quinceanera at various times and present the quinceanera with special gifts. These gifts (see: Mass) are first blessed by the Priest.
The last doll is symbolic of the quinceanera leaving her childhood, and receiving one last doll prior to being considered a young lady. Some quinceaneras receive a last doll with a dress matching her specific quinceanera dress. The last doll can also be displayed at the party after it is presented to the quinceanera, and is a keepsake to keep forever. Sometimes instead of a doll, a plush bear will be gifted to the quinceanera.
Changing of the Shoes
The changing of the shoes is a ceremony performed at the reception, and it involves the quinceanera removing her flat shoes. Her father, or other important male figure in her life, will replace the flats with heels. This is symbolic of the quinceanera growing up and is a popular (and emotional!) quinceanera tradition.
It is traditional to give your guests party favors to take with them at the end of the quinceanera. Favors range from candles, candies, baked goods, or religious items. You may also give special gifts to your padrinos and madrinas, and especially to your padrinos de honor.