We received an invitation the other day to a friend’s daughter’s Quinceañera. The invitation is beautiful and my mother and I were talking about how great it is for families to go through all of this trouble to create beautiful memories for their children. Families spend oodles of cash for these things and might I add that we don’t exactly live in Beverly Hills and have money to throw away. Going through these kinds of events takes a great deal of time, effort, and sacrifice. So the question I want to ask is… is it worth it?
I did not have a Quinceañera. My dad felt his money should be put to better use, and I was okay with that. I did not ask for a Quinceañera or a huge Sweet 16 party. I guess because I understood our financial situation. But I did attend friends Quinceañeras and already had ideas of what I would have wanted in my Quinceañera. For instance, I wanted the “Sleep Walk” instrumental song by Santo & Johnny to be played for my first dance with my father. I have NO IDEA why I have always wanted to use that song, I loved many songs, but for whatever reason that was definitely the one I wanted to have playing. So every time I hear “Sleep Walk” I honestly get a little sad because it reminds me of the Quinceañera I never had. Thank goodness I don’t hear that song often! Lol.
(Here is Sleep Walk for those who have no clue what song I’m talking about.)
So naturally, now that I’m getting older, I wonder at times if I should throw some kind of “coming of age” celebration for my (future) daughters. I am not married by the way and I’m not planning to have children anytime soon but these things do pop up in my head from time to time. Since I did not get to experience these special celebrations I would really like my daughters to experience it. I feel like it will be a day that they will never forget. Yes, it is expensive, but I think it is worth it. It’s like a wedding. It is a very important time in a female’s life- becoming an adult and being presented to the community as such. Having the first dance with your father, and all the other traditions that go along with it; it’s a really beautiful thing to see… it’s very moving.
So, the next issue is that if I were to throw a coming of age event, which one should I do? I’m a latina and an American, so the two that come to mind for me are the Quinceañera and Sweet 16… so who knows? Here’s some info about some “coming of age” events:
Quinceañera = Quince años = 15 years. This is celebrated in some Spanish speaking cultures and celebrates a young woman’s 15th birthday. It can be a deeply religious occassion or just one big party. It basically depends on the wants of the family. I’m not a religious person, so I’d do the big party thing with some traditional elements (e.g., the changing of the shoe, first dance with father, etc). It marks the time when a young girl is becoming a woman and presents her to the community as such. This usually means she’s also ready to date (dads usually do not like this lol) – more info
Sweet 16. Same as above, a coming of age birthday bash but for young boys and girls.
Philippine Debut. From what I understand, this tradition is like a mixture of the Quinceañera and Sweet 16 for Filipinos. It is very similar to both but the only difference is that it takes place when the young woman is 18 years old. My boyfriend is Filipino by the way! So who knows, this might become an option as well – more info
Bar Mitzvah. Also the same “coming of age” except these events are for Jewish boys and girls. It marks the age where these young people become responsible for their actions which is usually 12-13 years old – more info
Debutante Ball. Same “coming of age” event, but for rich people! Lol. So I won’t be doing this one! But the Debutante Ball is said to be for the young women of upper class families. It occurs at an age where the young woman is becoming an adult and is her “debut” to society. – more info
If you haven’t already, check out MTV’S My Super Sweet 16 and MTV Tr3s Quiero Mis Quinces to see these special celebrations taken to the EXTREME! (Warning: the kids could be very demanding and the young women could be little mini divas! But that just makes it entertaining to watch in my opinion!)