All Latin American countries celebrate the rite of passage of a girl into womanhood, although the name can vary from Quinceañero to Quinceañera or just “Quince”.
Sixty-one percent of Hispanics have attended at least one Quinceañero party in the past two years. Twenty-six percent have attended three or more celebrations in the past two years.
According to the latest census data, 1 million Puerto Rican girls are 14-17 years old.
The tradition of celebrating the transition of a girl into womanhood can be traced back to 500 B.C., when Aztec girls were given the instructions and responsibilities of womanhood.
After the Spanish conquest of Puerto Rico, Quinceañero parties merged with European “coming out” balls.
The role of the quinceañera’s Corte de Honor (Court of Honor) is to support her as she takes her first step into young womanhood.
Quinceañeros almost disappeared in Puerto Rico during the 1980s and early 1990s, when girls opted for a more modern party or a trip, or simply skipped the celebration.
The late 1990s and 2000s has seen a resurgence of Quinceañeros on the island, including all of its customary elements (e.g., church celebrations and the Corte de Honor, which consists of 14 girls and 14 boys). Some attribute the resurgence of this celebration to the MTV series “Yo Quiero Mis Quince” (I want my fifteens).
Quinceañeras are making their celebration more personalized and putting their own personality into it by having a variety of themes, including Hollywood and Rock ’n’ Roll, among others.
Boys are not falling behind in the celebration. There is a new trend in which boys are celebrating their youthful transition as well. Some celebrate their quinces and others their sixteens with a modern party. The celebration is tied to when they can get their driver’s license.
In Puerto Rico, the event’s attire has evolved over time. Today, many girls are choosing to wear dresses in bright colors such as pink, red or purple versus the traditional white.
33 percent of quinceañeras prefer a gift card as the gift of choice for her Quinceñero. Gift cards ranked number one, followed by 20.44 percent of the respondents selecting fine jewelry.