What is a Quinceañera?
Quinceañera means “one who is fifteen.” The Quinceañera is the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday, marking her passage from childhood to womanhood. Many Catholic families request a Mass and a blessing for their daughter.
The Quinceañera began as a tradition in the Americas, particularly in Mexico, Central and South America. It is also frequently celebrated by Hispanic Catholics in the dioceses of the United States of America.
Since the dawn of time, people of all cultures and eras have celebrated the coming of age of their children. The origin of the quinceañera is not very clear. It is linked to ancient Aztecs rites of passage, around 500 B.C. At fifteen, boys were inducted as warriors, while girls were honored for their capacity to give new warriors to the community. The future of the tribe depended on them. It is said that during the ceremony, the King himself would instruct the fifteen-year-old Aztec girl in the duties of womanhood. An Aztec woman who happened to die in childbirth received the same honors at her funeral as a warrior who had fallen in battle.
With the Spanish conquest, the tradition was Christianized and the quinceañera evolved into a rite of social initiation intended to teach and reinforce important Christian values.
In the Church Now:
Today, a quinceañera is a celebration of thanksgiving for a young girl's life and her passage into womanhood. Her parents, relatives, and friends ask God to pour his blessings and protection upon her as she matures into a young woman.
The celebration is not a sacrament. The Quinceañera mass is an act of thanksgiving for Life and Faith, crowned by God’s blessing. It is an opportunity for the young girl to consolidate her commitment to her faith.
Saint Margaret Mary Guidelines for a Quinceañera:
Celebrating your daughter’s Quinceañera is a wonderful event for you, your family, friends, and the Church. It is a special day to celebrate what God has accomplished in your daughter over the last 15 years. The world was blessed when God created her. The Church was blessed when you as parents presented her for Baptism. Our parish is blessed as you present her to God on the day of her fifteenth birthday.
We, as the family of God, congratulate you. We are committed to making this day memorable. To help with this, please read our guidelines carefully so that you may prepare for this celebration in a meaningful way. We pray that this day will be a blessing for you.