What is a Quinceañera?
"Happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to you..." Don't these lyrics
remind you that ever since you were little, your friends and family have sung
this song to you every year on your birthday?
Well, for young ladies who become fifteen years old and are from a Hispanic
background, it's common for them to celebrate their Quinceañera. A Quinceañera
is similar to a Sweet Sixteen party, only it celebrates becoming 15, not 16.
If you have a Hispanic heritage, have reached the age of 15, and have
maintained your virginity, it's an honor your parents celebrate.
Can guys have Quinceañeras? That's a question most people don't know the
answer to. If his parents are Catholic, there is a good probability that he will
have a Quinceañera. Of course, it's not the same as a girl's celebration. Guys
can't wear full, fancy dresses that girls normally wear. Male Quinceañeras
aren't usually as big a deal. The reason is simply that men don't really lose
anything if they have sex; no one can tell. Most girls can't hide it because
pregnancy often occurs.
In the traditional Quinceañera there are fourteen damas (similar to
bridesmaids) and fourteen chambelanes (male escorts who accompany the damas).
There will also be a male who accompanies the Quinceañera (the female turning
fifteen). He is normally called "the man of honor."
It's also common to see only seven couples, or to only have chambelanes, or
no one besides the Quinceañera. Most common Quinceañeras hold a mass at a
Catholic church, then go to a park or a studio to take pictures. Finally, after
all the hard work of trying to smile for every picture is the party. The
celebration includes music and food at a ball room or at the family's house.
|Traditionally, Quinceañeras have a waltz (special dance) for
the audience that attends the party. The waltz has a special meaning. The damas,
chambelanes, the man of honor, and the Quinceañera participate in it. In
Spanish they call it a vals.
"I will never forget my Quinceañera because I felt special that
day," remembers Yanet Menendez, a Junior at CHS.
Another reason for having a Quinceañera is to thank God that you're still
here with your family; that you're not doing drugs or anything that will destroy
A CHS Student, now a Quinceañera,
is happy that her day has finally come.
The chambelanes anxiously awaiting
the end of the mass so they can party.
|How does your family know you're still a virgin? Well, they are
assuming you're still pure because you've haven't had any kids.
|Most Quinceañeras experience a change physically and
emotionally. They act more mature and have added responsibilities. They are
treated now like young ladies, not little girls anymore.
"I was very happy when the day came. I knew that I was never going to be
fifteen again," expressed Yolanda Zamora, a Sophomore at CHS.
Damas trying to remain beautiful
despite cramped quarters and rising