“Ceremonies that mark important transitional periods in a person’s life, that is birth, puberty, marriage, having children, and death. Rites of passage usually involve ritual activities and teachings designed to strip individuals of their original roles and prepare them for new roles.”
Generally rites of passage are divided into three phases:
Some examples of rites of passage are:
- Bar or Bat Mitzvah
Here we will only be considering Quinceañera in detail.
“Quinceañera, also called fiesta de quince años, fiesta de Quinceañera, quince años or simply quince, is the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America and elsewhere in communities of people from Latin America.”
The word Quinceañera derives from Spanish word quince, meaning “fifteen”, and años, meaning “years”. It may refer to the girl or the ceremony itself. In Mexican American communities this ceremony symbolizes the change from adolescence to womanhood..
It is celebrated in many countries, such as United States, Argentina, Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Mexico, Ecuador, etc.
Phases of Quinceañera:
Usually Quinceañera is divided into two phases, that is religious and social, but we can divide it into three phases as follows:
Prior to the celebration of Quinceañera, the young woman attends classes at the church on the importance of mass and the significance of the moment in life. These classes occur up to one year.
This phase involves a church ceremony which calls upon the woman to renew her Baptism vows and call from the promise of support from a member of the family. The young woman enters the church with his father and mother, who are standing beside her. She sits in a single chair alone at the altar. Traditionally, she wears a white or pastor colored, floor-length dress and wears a crown of some sort. She also carries a doll with her. This offering shows that she is moving towards maturity.
In this phase, there is a great party or fiesta. These events usually take place in stage sets which are either made or rented. There are toast, Thank-you to the sponsors, and the response of the Quinceañera in which she expresses gratitude for her upbringing. There is usually a multi-tired cake embellished with statuary and fountains. A pillow is used to present the crown. This crown symbolizes the triumph in living a moral life. There are also periods of dancing in this party.