Question of the Week: Quinceañera

My cousin, Valerie, celebrates her 15th birthday today. She’s the youngest of the cousins on my mom’s side, but towers over most of us.

On Saturday, family and friends will gather at her home to celebrate. She bought a special dress for the occasion, a white cocktail dress. She won’t have a Mass nor court of chambelanes y damas. There’s no waltz, but she will dance with her father and padrino. Of course, there will still be food, drink and dancing.

I like the bending and adaptation of tradition. In fact, I think every quinceañera I’ve been to is different from previous ones. I’ve seen to co-quinceañeras, quinceañeras celebrated during the 16th birthday, full courts (14 couples), courts of just girls, courts of just guys (Lori and I did this), seen girls wear white gowns as well as colored gowns, seen a waltz, seen a choreographed modern dance, seen slide shows, and more.

But there’s constants. The girls are always surrounded by proud parents, friends and extended family.

And the party is fun.

Question of the week: Did you have a special celebration for your fifteenth birthday? What was it like? For guys, were you ever a chambelán? What was that like?


8 thoughts on “Question of the Week: Quinceañera

  1. chispa says:

    Yeah I had a quince, I really didn’t have a choice. I wanted my dad’s 1966 mustang instead . . . but my mom said NO!

  2. liz avzquez says:

    yes, I had a Quince and I think all of my hometown was there-well, they took turns coming in and out of the hall ‘casue it was tiny:) It was a very memorable night & one of my chambelanes is now my husband:)I only had 7 couples: the damas wore peach dresses made by my grandmother and the guys wore tuxedos. Fue un pachangon!

  3. My great-grandmother, the one who came from Mexico, was adamant that her daughters would not have quinceañeras because she believed it to essentially be telling the world, “Here’s my daughter! Come take her away and marry her!” (so the story goes). Thus, it was never a family tradition and our 15th birthdays were pretty low-key. I think we were more excited for Sweet 16.

  4. César says:

    I’m a veteran of thirteen quinceaneras. I could’ve probably gone for fifteen but I was burn out. I liked the whole chambelán deal because it was the only way girls wanted to talk to me. They knew I could dance, and girls love to dance! Now, people tell me, “wow, you know how to dance really well.” And I always give credit to the quinces. I should write an essay about the quince experience from the chambelán perspective, hmmm… in the works.

  5. I looked forward to my quince, had it in El Salvador. It was during war time though so it was a low key affair, done at home but I still had about 100 or so people at it.

    My sister, who was born here, wasn’t so into doing it but I pushed and nagged until she agreed. Did hers in ES too and by the end of the night, she was asking why the party had to end. 🙂

    Both of ours were pretty traditional, pink dresses, mass, 14 couples. Her dresses for her damas were in 4 different shades of pastels, same design. You would have thought we’d turned the party upside down by the way some people reacted to that. The girls loved it though. They weren’t all stuck with the exact same dress.

  6. Quinceañeras. Wow, the memories of mine where brought back as I read your post. I celebrated mine at 16 (according to my parents at 15 I was just too young- WhAT?!!) Anyway, my mom made me a beautiful white gown with turquoise details. I didn’t have chambelanes nor damas, I did have a mass and some friends of mine danced a beautiful liturgical dance to the song “The Rose” during mass. I had a huge party afterward in my backyard with a huge cake…I guess it was traditional in some ways and not in others. I wonder if my half-gringa nena will want one when she turns 15? I guess I have 13 more years to find out, and if she does…I will have one for her!!!!

    BTW- nice blog!

  7. angii says:

    i jsut had my 15 party it wasz the besttt even if i only had 3 chanbelanezz with no damaszzz it was a big ass rebenton lol

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s