For many girls, celebrating their 15th birthday is a dream come true and a very special tradition among the Hispanic cultures. But do you know the significance of how this traditional commemoration began?
If you’re planning your Quinceanera and wish to know more about why this beautiful tradition is so important, keep on reading.
Was it the Aztecs or the Spaniards? Why is it that the Hispanic community holds such value for a girl’s 15th birthday celebration?
Both cultures are actually responsible, along with other indigenous tribes’ whose initiation ceremonies served as inspiration.
Where did the tradition come from?
The Incas, the Mayas, the Toltecs and the Aztecs, all had the custom to prepare their members once they’ve all reached an specific age. These ceremonies were meant to shape up these teenage members into their adult roles, to benefit both them and the tribe.
In the case of girls, once they reached a certain age, they were separated from the boys in order to receive a different type of education—one that varied according to the indigenous group they belonged to. The preparation of the young ladies was based on the future role they will take as members of their family and community.
Once the preparation course was over, an initiation ceremony took place to celebrate the new era of the young girl, present her as a knowledgeable member of her community and for the other members of her tribe to proudly support her. When the Spaniards colonized Mexico they adopted these customs and adapted them into their beliefs.
Back in the day (1500s) Quinceaneras were meant to celebrate young girls for their 15th anniversary but to present them as prospective wives as well. The preparation/initiation in this case was to teach the girls how to clean, cook, take proper care of the house, a husband and most definitely a child.
Another big element the Spaniards added to the tradition as we know it today, is the religious ceremony. Although some tribes held a spiritual session during their rituals, it was the Spaniards who made the mass an official part of a Quinceanera.
Nowadays, a Quinceanera celebration is easily adapted to fit any girl’s lifestyle, budget and personality.
What was known as an initiation process now takes place during the reception, following the Quinceanera traditions: the last doll, the change of shoes, the waltz and the toast. These all share similarities to the ancient tribes who made this tradition happened.
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