The Quinceañera celebration and religion have traditionally gone hand in hand. To some, the Quinceañera symbolizes that the young lady is growing in her faith and is ready to take on a more significant role in both her religious and social communities. Today, many families who celebrate a Quinceañera still encourage the young lady to take part in a Misa de acción de gracias or “Thanksgiving Mass” to reaffirm her values and beliefs, and also to express gratitude to her family and friends.
There can be many variations to the Quinceañera mass procession. Typically the Quinceañera is accompanied by her parents, her godparents or padrinos, and sometimes even her Quince court. The girl traditionally walks in to church carrying her “last doll”, which symbolizes the last toy she will possess in her transition from childhood to adulthood. The girl exchanges the doll for a small flower bouquet which she carries with her down the aisle to the altar, and which she usually leaves behind as a gift to the church after the mass.
During the sermon, the priest discusses faith and virtue and the importance of these in light of the quinceañera’s new role in her church community. Sometimes family members are chosen to read specific passages from the bible as well. During the ceremony, the priest will bless a rosary, a bible, and other gifts that the quinceañera is to receive. There is also a “coronation ceremony” where the girl’s mother or godmother places a tiara on her head, which also carries a symbolic meaning.