Bilingual Programs Chapter
Celebremos Mis Quince Años / A Quinceañera Fair
A Program for Young Adults
For many Hispanic girls, their 15th birthday marks their “coming of age” and families often celebrate with a quinceañera. The quinceañera is a major event and includes a special dress, a church celebration, a court of 14 female attendants and their male escorts, and a reception. Planning for an event of this scale can often take a year or more, just like a wedding. A quinceañera fair would be a fun way for families to learn new ways to celebrate their daughters’ special events. Boys could get information on what is expected of them as escorts for the court.
Books to Show and Booktalk
- Cuba 15 by Nancy Osa.
- Quinceañera: Celebrando los quince by Elizabeth King.
- Quinceañera: Celebrating Fifteen by Elizabeth King.
- Quinceañera Means Sweet 15 by Veronica Chambers.
- Quinceañera!: The Essential Guide to Planning the Perfect Sweet Fifteen Celebration by Michele Salcedo.
- Sweet Fifteen by Diane Gonzales Bertrand.
Display books about quinceañeras, party planning, and crafts on a table with vases of silk or real flowers. Invite a collector to display quinceañera dolls and other mementos.
Place flower vases on the tables around the program room. Put party favors on each participant’s chair along with pencils and paper. Decorate the chairs with paper flowers and crepe paper streamers in pastel colors.
Locate a bakery that prepares quinceañeras cakes and serve the cake during your program. Serve punch in plastic wine glasses that teens can keep as souvenirs. These are available at most party supply stores.
- Play the CD Celebrando quinceañera by Various Artists.
- Play “La quinceañera” on Fiestas!: A Year of Latin American Songs and Celebrations by Jose-Luis Orozco.
Make a Hat Capia
Capias are small pins that are pinned on the quinceañera’s doll’s dress. The doll represents the birthday girl’s last doll. Replicas of the pins are given to guests at the reception as a rememberance. Obtain a sample doll from a party supply store that carries quinceañera supplies, or purchase one on-line from The Joyful Events Store at www.joyfuleventsstore.com.
- Small fabric sun hats, approximately 2” in diameter, available at most craft stores in the doll section.
- Tiny silk roses in pastel colors
- 1/8” wide satin ribbon in colors to match the roses
- Assorted beads
- “Miss Quince” and “15” decorations
- Lace or fabric trim
- Tulle or other trim items
- Craft glue or hot glue gun
Cut the satin ribbon into 6” lengths. Tie a length of satin ribbon around the hat and secure it to the hat with a drop of glue. Cover the knot with a silk rose. Glue a length of trim or lace around the edge of the hat’s brim. Decorate the rest of the hat with flowers, beads, charms, or other trim items. Hold the hat so the ends of the satin ribbon hang down. Turn it over and glue a pin back onto the back of the brim of the hat. Allow the glue to dry completely. Teens wear the pin as a momento of the celebration.
The daughter and father dance the first dance at a quinceañera. It is a waltz. Invite a dance instructor or volunteer to teach the girls and boys how to waltz. If you can’t find a teacher, Dance TV.com at Dancetv.com offers step-by-step instructions, as well as background information on the waltz.
Invite a variety of local businesses to host tables at your quinceañeras fair. These might include a bakery that handles quinceañeras, a mariachi band, a florist, and a formal wear store. Invite someone from a craft store to demonstrate how to make party favors for the reception and a party planner to share tips on planning the reception. Invite someone from a print shop or custom printer to show invitations and other paper goods.
A Hispanic Girl’s Coming of Age
The El Paso Community College’s “Borderlands” Project introduces the quinceañera celebration.
- This site has a quinceañera section that offers small plastic letters and ornaments for party favors, as well as balloons and other decorations.
- Step-by-step instructions for learning to waltz.
- The Joyful Events Store
- This site sells quinceañera dolls and other accessories and provides background information on the celebration.