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August 3rd, 2007 was a day that I will never forget. It was the day I turned fifteen and celebrated my Quinceañera. A Quinceañera is a coming of age party for young girls of the Latin America culture, when they are turning fifteen. It is somewhat similar to a sweet sixteen party but it is more formal.
Preparations for the Quinceañera often begin a year in advance. This consists of picking out a dress, which will look somewhat similar to a wedding dress. The traditional dress is white, with a snug top and a bell-shaped floor length skirt. Some girls may choose a pink dress or any pastel color. Besides the dress, the girl will have to choose 14 boys and girls. They are normally her boy and girl friends and/or relatives. Each person represents one year of the honoree's life. The celebration starts out with a formal religious ceremony of some sort to receive God’s blessing at a church. Following the service, comes the formal or informal party that is sponsored by the Padrinos (Godparents). It is celebrated with the court, family, friends, and lots of music, food and dancing. After leaving the church, everyone will proceed to the party. Some may choose to have it a formal hall or even in someone’s back yard. It will starts out with the court walking in first, then the Quinceañera with her personal escort wearing flat shoes; which then her father will change to heels. Following the march, the parents will give a speech and brief introduction about the Quinceañera. After the introduction, then Quinceañera experiences the changing of shoes. It symbolizes her going into womanhood. Along with the exchange of shoes comes the toast to honor the Quinceañera. It gives her a chance to thank everyone for coming. Also she will then receive the presents from the parents and godparents. It is traditionally a tiara, bracelet, ring or even a bible.
After receiving the gifts, the Quinceañera and her court perform a dance- The Vals. Following the Vals comes the father/daughter dance. If in some cases the father is not present then the grandfather or another male relative will take the spot. Some girls prefer to do more than one dance which could be a salsa, merengue or cumbia dance. After the dances are over, the Quinceañera normally chooses to change into a more comfortable dress.
My Quinceañera was a memory that I will always cherish. From the church to the party, which I am glad I got to spend with my family and close friends. A Quinceañera is a tradition that is celebrated in many Latin American countries and will

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