The only thing fathers dread more than IRS audits or getting trapped on an island without SportsCenter, is their daughter’s plunge into womanhood by joining the dating world, so the Quinceañera is just as emotionally helpful for them as their 15-year-old.
Similar to the concept of Bat Mitzvah’s and often associated with ceremonially exiting childhood, girls celebrate their 15th birthday with shindigs that would rival any wedding. However, with their large, cotton candy colored, puffy dresses, blinged up tiaras and gold jewelry, Quinceañeras seemingly have more in common with a Gypsy wedding than a sweet 16. Few have a hard time discerning who the Quinceañera is.
Quinceaneras are heavily linked to Catholicism, however their origins are Aztec in nature. The Quinceanera is a way to create traditions from the indigenous past and linking to the Christian and Spanish centric future. The long gowns are reminiscent of wedding gowns, and can be traced back to colonial times.
The more traditional Quinceañera ceremony starts when she enters the church and is blessed by the Priest. She is marrying herself to her sense of womanhood. They proceed to the reception, typically with a chaperone of her own age, as she enters the room with a group of boys holding swords to celebrate her entry.
Father Daughter Dance
The Quinceañera then proceeds to dance a waltz with her father and later her chaperone and her court. Her Chambelan will lead most of the processions. As the guests leave, much like a traditional wedding they can sign the guest book and receive a small keepsake.
In this recreation of royalty, the girl wears a tiara on her head. Is there a more cynical side to the Quinceañera celebration? One big reason is that it is a tradition exclusively for women. Women are still objectified in this tradition, and there is an almost decorative nature to the celebration.
Quite similar to the Reina de Carnaval, the Quinceañera concept of womanhood focuses on her sexuality and beauty. In a particular emphasis on this theme, one of the rituals performed is the changing of the shoes. In this tradition, the father changes the girl’s shoes from flats to high heels.
Are we predisposing young girls to think that by wearing high heels they will be more of a woman? What are high heels? They are less comfortable are hard to walk long distances in, and are a deep contrast to men’s shoes, which tend to be more practical and comfortable. Yet, at the same time, they are a focal part of the ceremony honoring the father/daughter relationship.
Quantifying a Quinceañera?
On paper, the cost, time investment and planning stress may not make sense, but memories cannot be quantified, parents may need one more than their daughter, so they can begin the letting go process.
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