Quinceañera means “one who is fifteen.” The Quinceañera is the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday,
marking her passage from childhood to womanhood. Many Catholic families request a Mass and a blessing
for their daughter.
Since the dawn of time, people of all cultures and eras have celebrated the coming of age of their children.
The origin of the quinceañera is not very clear. It is linked to ancient Aztecs rites of passage, around 500 B.C.
At fifteen, boys were inducted as warriors, while girls were honored for their capacity to give new warriors to the
community. The future of the tribe depended on them. It is said that during the ceremony, the King himself would
instruct the fifteen-year-old Aztec girl in the duties of womanhood. An Aztec woman who happened to die in childbirth
received the same honors at her funeral as a warrior who had fallen in battle.
With the Spanish conquest, the tradition was Christianized and the quinceañera evolved into a rite of
social initiation intended to teach and reinforce important Christian values.
Today, a quinceañera is a celebration of thanksgiving for a young girl's life and her passage into womanhood.
Her parents, relatives, and friends ask God to pour his blessings and protection upon her as she matures into a
The celebration is not a sacrament. The Quinceañera mass is an act of thanksgiving for Life and Faith,
crowned by God’s blessing. It is an opportunity for the young girl to consolidate her commitment to her faith.
A joyful party and dance gathering extended family and friends usually follows the mass.
For more information about Quinceanera from the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishop Website