Quinceañera History

Quinceanera History How This Celebration Started and How It Is Today

When you look closely at quinceañera history, the party may seem like an outdated relic from colonial times. However, it will soon become clear that quinceañera traditions have evolved from their historical beginnings, growing to represent timeless, universal values of love, honor, and family.

Is the quinceañera celebration still relevant to today’s society? What do waltzes and ball gowns have to do with modern womanhood?

How Quinceañera Celebrations Started

The tradition of having a quinceañera party to celebrate a Latina girl’s 15th birthday began in colonial Mexico. At that time, girls were not allowed to dance in public before they were 15 years old.

Naturally, girls were eager to dance as soon as possible, because dancing was a key part of adult social life.

Families started holding lavish parties on their daughter’s 15th birthday in order to give them a chance to dance and be recognized as an adult member of society.

Quinceañera History Today

The History of Quinceaners

Quinceañera History

15 is no longer regarded as “adult” age. Most Western societies place adulthood at 18 or 21 years old.  After her party, the quinceañera’s family may see her as a woman and give her more responsibilities, but the larger world will not yet consider her an adult.

In colonial Mexico, wealth was a huge part of a family’s social status. As a result, it was very important to throw a fancy party.  Only the best would do for the quinceañera: an opulent handmade gown, new gold jewelry, a lavish cake.

Generally, if a family could not afford to throw a splendid party, they were not accepted into high society. This was a way for other families to respect them, and the quinceañera’s chances of landing a “good” husband were significantly reduced.

Today, quinceañera parties run the gamut of taste and expense. While some families rent banquet halls and throw fancy parties, others celebrate the quinceañera more simply, with a family party under the stars in a cousin’s field.

The quinceañera party is no longer the ticket into high society. Instead, it is a celebration of womanhood shared by all social classes.

It is important to celebrate this day with family members and to have a special gathering including friends and for many, your vestido de quinceañera or quinceañera dress, invitations and reception. This all depends on the family tradition and budget.

Although the historical meaning of the quinceañera as a girl’s introduction into high society is no longer relevant, the deeper meaning of coming of age and being welcomed into an adult role in the family by parents and godparents is still deeply relevant. Quinceanera history evolved naturally and it remains a main celebration amongst Hispanic women and Latinas overall.


Our Quinceañera photographs come from Mariana Martinis a professional photographer and Hispanic entrepreneur owner of Glyph Creative Studio in NY. She is the winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Awards™ 2012 for Photography and Videography.

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