Wedding, Quinceanera Expo - 2021-09-18



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Steeped in tradition, quinceañeras are a wonderfully intricate celebration of a girl’s coming of age. Quinceañeras are more commonly celebrated in the Hispanic community but anyone can have a quinceañera. “Quince” is the Spanish word for 15. “Años” means years. Quinceañera means “she who is 15.” Fifteen is considered the age at which a girl is ready to take on her role as a lady in the community. A quinceañera, or “quince,” at once allows a girl to embrace religious traditions, the virtues of family and social responsibility and mark her transforma from adolescence to adulthood. While a Sweet 16 celebration is similar to a quinceañera, where the girl is presented to society, a quince puts more emphasis on a young woman’s role in the church and family – hence the special ceremonies as part of the quinceañera Mass. In the past, a quince was a solemn religious celebration held at a church with a reception to follow – similar to a low-key wedding, though the quinceañera has had traditional dancing and fun as its primary focus.. The history of quinceañeras is unclear, but documents date the observance back to the Aztec period. The Aztecs held a celebration to prepare each village’s young women for marriage and their new role in society. Today’s celebration comes from Mexican history and is a mix of Spanish and Catholic traditions that creates a unique celebration. Like most Catholic traditions, the quinceañera starts with a religious ceremony. The celebrant enters the church in a procession, accompanied by her court, her parents and her godparents. She carries a flower bouquet that is the same color as the celebrant’s dress and is left at the altar. During the ceremony, her mother will present her with a scepter to replace the bouquet, symbolizing the celebrant’s letting go of childhood. Accepting the scepter symbolizes her acceptance of the nsibilities nd authority that come with being a woman. The celebrant is also crowned with a tiara by her mother, symbolizing her position as a princess and daughter of God. There are several more symbols used during the ceremony. A Bible, covered in lace or silk, is the first object given to the celebrant because the word of God is to hold an important place in her life. It is meant to accompany her throughout her life and offer her guidance in times of trouble. Three roses symbolize the celebrant’s infancy, childhood and current age. A ring or other piece of jewelry, such as a bracelet, is often given by the godparents, signifying the infinite circle of God’s love. Earrings remind her to keep her ears open to God and to listen closely to His word. The celebrant may receive a rosary, medal or cross. A rosary symbolizes her faith in God and is meant to assist her in her prayers. The meaning of a medal of a Patron Saint may vary, depending on what the gift giver hopes for her. A cross symbolizes faith in God, in herself and her world. During the religious ceremony, the celebrant gives thanks to God for the 15 wonderful years in her life. The priest renews her baptismal vows in front of her parents, godparents, and close friends to signify her continued commitment to God. During the Mass, the birthday girl is given a special blessing by the priest. This benediction is supposed to strengthen her faith and give her courage and determination to carry out her new duties. The celebrant’s court is very symbolic. The original tradition was to have 14 boys (“chambelanes,” “escoltas” or “galanes”) and 14 girls (damas) and a male escort for the celebrant. The total of 15 couples is meant to symbolize each year of the celebrant’s life. Now, however, it is more common that there are seven boys, seven girls, the celebrant and her escort. The quince dress is meant to symbolize womanhood, and the celebrant’s readiness to leave behind her ‘little girl’ clothing and her childish ways and become a woman in a formal gown. The dress speaks of the birthday girl’s personality and must be the most beautiful element of the party. To show her taste and flair, the celebrant chooses the style and color of the dress as her first “adult dress”. Traditionally, a lot of tulle is used to achieve a princess look. Or if the young lady prefers something less extravagant, silk or taffeta are common options. Traditionally, white or a light pink was selected to represent purity, a symbol of virginity, but in more recent times, the celebrant may choose a more colorful and vibrant gown or even black! The celebrant wears flat shoes to the ceremony, but her father later helps her into a pair of heels as a sign that she is stepping out of childhood and into womanhood. Traditionally, the shoes are selected by her parents, symbolizing her first pair of “adult” shoes. Another tradition is passing along “the last doll,” symbolizing the end of the celebrant’s childhood and beginning of adult responsibilities and interests she will assume. The doll traditionally is provided by the her father, and may don a similar dress or sport a similar hairstyle. She then passes the doll on to her younger sister or she may opt to throw the doll away to a pool of younger girls, like a bride throws her bouquet to a group of single girls. Following this is the traditional father-daughter dance! Her father picks a song of meaning for them both, maybe something they normally dance to at home, something always in the background, or something he has sung to his daughter before. This represents their first public dance and is a way for her father to present her to her guests. Then he symbolically “allows” others to dance with his daughter. The old-fashioned traditional fairytale waltz follows, after which there is usually a surprise dance for the celebrant and her court to entertain her guests, with something more adult like hip-hop or a bachata with her male escort. An elegant choreographed fairytale waltz is performed by the damas and chambelanes (the court of honor), with the celebrant. If a fatherdaughter dance was not performed, the father may join in on the first part of the waltz performed by the court, then hand his daughter off to her escort. Similar to a wedding, quinceañeras have a toast and cake cutting ceremony at the reception to mark the acceptance of the young lady into adult society. The quinceañera cake is a symbolic way for the birthday girl to “feed” her friends, just as she will prepare family dinners as a young adult. Some families use real champagne so that their daughter has her “first taste” of adult life. Other families prefer to use sparkling cider. In Yuma, we love to embrace the many cultures and traditions. … To find some great examples of quinceañera themes, dresses and even checklists for a successful quinceañera check out the sites below and also consult many of the local Yuma experts! •


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