More Stories

Minority Report

The Quinceañera Tradition
Author: Ana Alamo, Ana Cervantes

What does Quinceañera mean? Basically, a Quinceañera 
is a Latino tradition for girls that are changing from 
a little girl into a grown up lady. It also means that 
you are becoming fifteen years old. In the past, girls 
at the age of fifteen were only good to get married 
and have kids.
Quinceañeras are a big thing. That means that planning 
it is hard, but doing it is even harder. You need to 
find padrinos, chambelanes, and damas. The Quinceañera 
picks padrinos of honor, which play a special part of 
the ceremony. They are the highest of all the 
padrinos, which are also known as godfathers. The part 
that padrinos play in Quinceañeras is that they help 
pay for the expenses of the party, such as jewelry, 
the hall, and invitations. Then there’s the 
chambelanes who are hot young guys that dance with 
damas. The damas are involved in the dance because 
they are the closest friends of the Quinceañera. The 
main chambelan is the one that dances the first dance 
with the Quinceañera. 
The dress is the hardest part to choose, because every 
girl wants the best dress, and, as you know, we girls 
are really picky. Girls wish everything would be 
perfect, but it isn’t. People told us stories of how 
they tripped, how someone hit someone else, the damas’ 
dresses ripping, and they forgot how to dance the 
traditional waltz. It’s all true, but it’s normal for 
something to go wrong. DON’T BE SCARED!
Nowadays, some girls have the choice between getting a 
car or celebrating their Quinceañera. There are girls 
that pick the car because they want more freedom to go 
where they want and when they want. And, there are 
girls that pick the Quinceañera because it’s an 
important part of their tradition or culture.
Quinceañeras are celebrated by Latinas while other 
cultures celebrate the “sweet sixteen” or eighteenth 
birthday. The thing that we would tell a girl is that 
they should do their Quinceañera how they want, 
because you become fifteen only once. You can’t take 
it back or change it ever again.