QUINCEA & Ntilde;ERA HISTORY AND TRADITIONS
Quincea & ntilde;eras are among the oldest traditions celebrated by young women of Spanish descent. The traditions and symbolism involved hold deep meanings for the families and communities involved.
The Quincea & ntilde;era can be traced back to the Mayan and Aztec cultures around 500 B.C. At 15 years old, young men became warriors. At the same age, young women were taken from their homes to be schooled for womanhood and marriage.
During this time, the young woman was taught about her family history and traditions, as well as to be a good wife and mother.
Upon return, young women were presented to society as the vital force of the tribe because they were responsible for creating life and raising future warriors.
When the Spanish army overthrew the Aztecs, they brought the tradition into the Catholic religion for young women as a celebration of social initiation, portraying the young women as both the bride of Christ and the bride awaiting their future groom.
The symbolic gifts hold deep meaning for participants.
One of the most popular traditions is when the young woman shares a dance with her father. After the dance, the father replaces his daughter's flat shoes with a pair of elegant, heeled shoes to signify her coming of age.
Another popular tradition is when the young woman presents a porcelain doll to her younger sister, which represents the last of her toys and her move toward adulthood.
Jewelry and accessories worn by the young women also have profound meanings. She usually wears a tiara as a sign of leaving childhood behind and facing adult challenges that lie ahead.
Often, the family will present the young women with either a bracelet or a ring to represent the unending circle of life. Earrings are given to her as a reminder to listen and pay heed to the word of God and the world around her.
A cross or medallion signifies faith and a rosary or prayer book are religions resources to always remind the young woman to remember her devotion to God.