A Quinceanera is a coming-of-age ritual where a young girl renews her baptismal promises and is presented to her community as a young lady, the term also refers to the young girl who is being celebrated.

A traditional Quinceanera is typically celebrated around the girl’s 15th birthday and is celebrated with a party and a mass, with the latter being the Quinceanera’s presentation before God and a promise to honor herself and her religion.

Unlike a baptism or confirmation, a Quinceanera mass is not a Catholic sacrament.

However, it is a significant cultural ritual within the Hispanic community that solidifies the girl’s commitment to her faith.


During the Quinceanera mass, the young girl receives Holy Communion, makes an act of consecration to the Virgin Mary, gifts the Virgin Mary with a bouquet of flowers, and receives gifts that are blessed by the priest such as a ring, a tiara or a necklace.

Similar to some sacraments, different symbolic elements represent the Quinceanera’s rite of passage from childhood into womanhood. The Bible, the tiara or crown, the bouquets and the people who accompany her,  hold a spiritual meaning during the religious ceremony.

 

Preparing for the Quinceañera Mass

Requirements for the preparation courses vary from parish to parish, but for the most part it is required for the girl to be baptized, had received her first Communion and be enrolled or be finished with her confirmation classes.

Some courses are designed for both the soon-to-be Quinceanera and her parents, while others simply require the celebrated to attend on her own.

Although most preparatory classes are weekly courses that last a few months, some parishes hold extensive yearlong classes and others require attending only a one-time seminar. Once all the requirements are met, the date for the mass can be set and the first planning steps such as choosing the Quinceanera’s court of honor may begin.

Choosing the Padrinos and Quinceanera court

Typically, the padrinos are chosen for being a stable, married couple that will ideally serve as mentors for the young girl. Their main role is to help keep the young girl on a path of spirituality and guide her into becoming a positive contributor to her community.

The chambelan de honor is a young man who is chosen to be the Quinceanera’s date for the day. His role is an important one since he symbolizes the girl’s first male companion as a young lady. An older brother, cousin or friend of the celebrated, typically fills the role of the chambelan.

It is up to the Quinceanera to decide whether she wants to be accompanied by a chambelan and if she wants a Quinceanera court at all.

 

The timeline of Catholic Quinceanera Mass

Come the day of the celebration, escorted by her parents or guardians, the Quinceanera leads the walk into church followed by her padrinos, the chambelan and the court of honor.

A priest greets the Quinceanera at the altar where a designated chair has been placed for her.

Unlike a typical Sunday mass where the biblical readings are directed for the entire congregation, in a Quinceanera mass the reading is made, for the most part, directly to the celebrated.

Themes of youth, eternal love to God, becoming a strong woman, and remaining true to her religion against all adversity are customary topics for a Quinceanera mass.

quinceanera_holding_bible_and_rosary

Symbolisms of a Quinceanera mass

Usually following the first gospel, the priest blesses the traditional Quinceanera elements and makes reference to the Bible and rosary as symbolizing the eternal word of God.

These elements are:

  • A crown or tiara, representing how God sees the Quinceanera as a princess, his daughter, a King.
  • A natural bouquet of flowers to offer to the Virgin Mary (An artificial one is kept by the Quinceanera)
  • The Bible and rosary, both foundations of her faith.
  • Ring, simbolizing unconditional love from God

 

Nowadays, the most common event to take place after the mass is the photo shoot. Prior to the reception, the Quinceanera and her court, if she has one, head to a cool place for a “candid” photo session.

 

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About The Author

Quince Madrina

The ultimate Madrina for all quinceañeras!

  • Catherine Barnea

    I’m not Mexican I’m Hispanic from Venezuela and my family doesn’t do that in the church we were just thinking of doing the party and the father daughter dance and a surprise dance that’s it and then dinner we weren’t going to do the a quinceanera mass is that OK or should I just have a sweet 16

    • Hi Catherine!

      Feel free to adapt your Quinceanera to fit your budget, style, personality and faith. This tradition has evolved with the years so there is no problem if you skip some traditions.

  • GreciaXV

    Hi Sophia,

    You can work your Quinceanera however you want to: with padrinos, without, with only a XV Madrina, damas, no damas, you get it!

  • Carmen0842

    Hello- I’m in the process of locating a church to perform a quince mass. I either need to be registered w/ the church which doesn’t work for me since the church that I’m registered with no longer performs quince’s OR pay a outrageous amount for the ceremony… does anyone have any ideas?

    • Grecia Hernandez

      Hi Carmen,

      Not all churches required you to be part of their congregation, if anything just meet them half way and try attending mass there during the planning of your fiesta to see if that makes things smoother.

    • GreciaXV

      Hi Carmen,

      Not all churches required you to be part of their congregation, if anything just meet them half way and try attending mass there during the planning of your fiesta to see if that makes things smoother.

  • Isabella

    Thank you so much!! My daughters only 11 but I have to start planning! She is so excited because she’s adopted from Guatemala and its in her culture! So thank you so much! I love this website!!!

  • Carmen

    Hello, you have a fantastic website!
    I am a ceremony officiant and will be performing my very first Quinceanera Blessing. Since the ceremony I will be performing will not be held in a Church I was wondering if you had information about the order of the ceremony for a more modern but spiritual Quinceanera Blessing?

    • Grecia Hernandez

      Hi Carmen,

      Unfortunately we wouldn’t know. Quinceanera blessings are particular to each religion, faith and the girl and her families’ wishes, our best advice would be to talk it over with the family to see what there is they are expecting. Sorry about that!

  • manuel garcia

    In reality its used by many as just an excuse to party when in reality usually the girl only cares of how big and glamorous it can get ..and the parents feel obliged to give in.. a real girl that is.searching and seeking
    the Lord wouldnt even want one…renew your baptismal promises .by going to mass every sunday ..God bless us all

  • Jazmine

    But what if you’re Christian, and you would still like to have a mass, how exactly would that play out?

    • Grecia Hernandez

      Christian Quinceanera masses are a bit different actually, we will soon be covering that topic! Thanks Jazmine for bringing this up, we want to make sure we include every Quinceanera!

  • chenda

    Can the padrino be the father

    • Grecia Hernandez

      Your father is already be a super important figure in your life and Quince, you might want to honor someone else with such a role!

  • steph

    do you need to have your confirmation to have a quince because im doing one because i want one without any ceremony

    • Daniella Alejo

      Confirmation is required to have your quinceneara. Without the confirmation to the church you are still a child.

      • Rosie Salas

        Not true. My daughter is having her mass without her confirmation. She has to be in classes but those take 2 years before confirmation ceremony. As long as she is attending her classes the Quinceanera mass can be held. I didn’t do my confirmation until I was 18 and I did have my quince mass. Ask your church.

        • Blanca

          Per the diocese she must be enrolled in confirmation classes to be able to have a quinceañera. Keep in mind there are times where things can be a little different. Sometimes due to the church not having the staff available to go through with creating things.

    • Elena

      However, if you are not Catholic, and you just want a Quinceañera party, you can do that without the mass. You can have people who’ve helped you grow talk, and this way you can do it without having confirmation. This way, the quinceañera is just a celebration of your coming in to your own.
      Hope this helped!

      • Grecia Hernandez

        exactly!

  • emily

    can the padrinos be an older cousin and her husband?

    • Daniella Alejo

      Yes.

  • Rosa

    Do You Have To Have Just One Padrino As A Couple?????? :

    • alex

      yea

  • Ekacmedina

    How many padrinos are their? Just one couple?

    • Gaby

      From what ive heard and understand there can be more than one couple but im not absoulutley positive

      • hazel

        um normally its just a couple or 1 person but it all depends on wat u want

    • Gloria A. Crixell

      You can have as many padrinos as contributed to your quinceanera.
      Your court can be your padrinos without chambelanes
      Your court is your court you choose…it should not be more than 7 couples if you are replacing chambelanes with padrinos to be your court.

  • R-swizzle

    I love you.

    • R-swizzle

      I love you too.

  • Bob

    i disagree