What would our country be without the freedom of religion? Would common day Americans lose not only their chance to worship their chosen religion or would cultural aspects begin to fade as well? Quinceañeras are just as common in American as a traditional Sweet Sixteen’s and are often compared to one. However, unlike an American Sweet Sixteen party, Quinceañeras are much more than just another birthday party. Both cultural and religious aspects of the people that celebrate it influence them. In this essay I am going to elaborate on what a Quinceañera is and how they came to be. This topic makes me reflect on how it would be like to live under another government and how much nature and the idea of an ultimate being have an effect on cultural events like this one.
There is a lot of history behind how Quinceañeras came about just like there is for several other cultural inspired events. The Mayans and the Aztecs first celebrated this event. What happened was that on a girl’s fifteenth birthday they were looked upon as a woman and ready to marry and have children. After her fifteenth birthday she would learn how to cook, clean and care for a house and children. If a woman did not end up marrying after her celebration then she would become a nun or stay home and take care of her parents. Women were looked highly upon and were valued and respected for their ability to bear children. Today, however, the celebration is more symbolic of adulthood and gaining responsibilities and opportunities to date and learn more about their culture and religion.
This cultural event also had a religious meaning and ceremony that went along with it. Like traditional ways, the birthday girl has to attend a special Mass that includes her close friends and family. One tradition is that after she reaches the altar at mass she is followed by fourteen of her friends to symbolize the fourteen years that she has lived and been a child. After the Mass she is considered an adult and was traditionally ready to marry, however, in modern times it just signifies that she is now mature enough to learn and appreciate her religion and culture. At the church altar she commits herself to God and places a bouquet of flowers near the statue of Virgin Mary to symbolize her purity. At the very end of the Mass to symbolize her giving up her childhood she must give a childhood doll or toy to her younger sister, cousin, etc.
The party aspect of the celebration is a more modern aspect of the tradition. What I found outrageous is the fact that most parents spend the first fourteen years of their daughter’s lives saving for this party, which could cost the same or even more than a wedding. The special birthday girl wears a lavish and expensive ball gown made of multiple layers of satin and lace. A male escort then accompanies her to her prom like event that is filled with schoolmates and family members. In the large ballroom there is entertainment, lavish food, tons of decorations and...