Honduran Quinceañera Traditions: How Our Little Roses Celebrates
A Quinceañera is a Hispanic tradition of celebrating a young girl’s coming of age on her 15th birthday. Today’s celebrations embrace religious customs as well as the virtues of family and social responsibility. At Our Little Roses, this is a special moment for our girls.
We thought our sponsors and supporters might be interested in learning more about Honduran Quinceañera traditions, why they’re so important to Our Little Roses, and how we celebrate.
What are some Honduran Quinceañera traditions?
Historians don’t quite know when the Quinceañera tradition started. Some say when the Spanish conquerors brought the tradition to Mexico, while others say the tradition originated with the ancient customs of the Aztecs. Regardless of how it began, the Quinceañera is a treasured Hispanic rite of passage.
The celebration begins with a religious ceremony. During mass, the Quinceañera receives Holy Communion, makes an act of consecration to the Virgin Mary, offers flowers to the Virgin Mary, and receives gifts blessed by the priest such as:
- A crown or tiara, representing how God sees the Quinceañera as a princess, his daughter
- The Bible and rosary, foundations of her faith
- A ring, symbolizing unconditional love from God
Often, a special kneeling pillow, sometimes personalized with the Quinceañera’s name, is placed for the girl to kneel on during the ceremony and serves as a keepsake.
Unlike a typical Sunday mass where the biblical readings are directed toward the entire congregation, in a Quinceanera mass, the priest often focuses on becoming a strong woman, setting an example for others, and remaining true to religion against adversity.
After mass, family and friends are welcome to a reception in the home or a banquet hall. The Quinceañera wears a ball gown, often in pink to represent purity. The festivities include food, music, and choreographed dances performed by the Quinceañera and her Court, made up of 15 people. Typically, the Court includes padrinos, a married couple that will keep the young girl on a path of spirituality and guide her into becoming a positive member of the community.
There are also several symbolic traditions that occur during the reception, such as:
- Ceremony Of The 15 Candles – The Quinceañera hands out 15 candles to the people she considers the most influential in her life.
- Changing Of The Shoes – The girl’s father, or a close male relative, exchanges her flat shoes for high heels to mark her transition from child to woman.
- The Last Doll – Either part of a ceremony or simply on display, this doll is another symbol of the last moments of childhood. Sometimes, the last doll is dressed like the Quinceañera. She gives the doll to the next person in the family who will be turning 15.
- Makeup and Hand Mirror – The girl is gifted a hand mirror decorated with colors of her dress and lipstick, which she applies using the hand mirror. This celebration was meant to be the first time the birthday girl wore makeup.
At Our Little Roses, we take great care to decorate the church and reception area to make the Quinceañera as special as possible.
What is the significance of the Quinceañera to Our Little Roses?
As our founder, Diana Dillenberger Frade, explains, “For Our Little Roses, marking this benchmark in our girls’ lives in the context of the Holy Eucharist and the verbal commitment to continue to follow Jesus and be an example for the younger girls is a perfect way to become a young woman.”
The Quinceañera is an empowering experience, reminding our girls of their value to Honduran society and responsibility to uplift their community. It also reinforces Our Little Roses’ commitment to celebrating Honduran traditions and encouraging our girls to embrace and understand their cultural identity. From the beginning, we’ve felt traditions are important. Even though Quinceañeras have declined in popularity in the last few decades, as Frade says, “For Our Little Roses, we will stick with tradition!”
Honduran Quinceañera traditions are part of Our Little Roses’ spirit and history, and we plan to celebrate them for years to come.
How does Our Little Roses celebrate each girl’s Quinceañera?
At Our Little Roses, we have a Quinceañera celebration in November or December to recognize all the girls who turned 15 within that year. All the girls love to participate in the celebration because they can’t wait until it’s their turn.
The girls begin their day by being pampered at the beauty salon to get their hair done so they look very special for the evening. The birthday girls wear a special dress, cocktail length or longer. Each Quinceañera chooses the dress she would like to wear to celebrate this special occasion, and while the colors vary from girl to girl, all the dresses are typically pastel.
The celebration begins with a Quinceañera Mass. If visitors are present, everyone is invited to the celebration. Their sponsor (if they’re in Honduras) or another special person (in our case, Diana, Bishop Frade, or Mayra), will walk each girl down the aisle to sit in front of the altar where they reaffirm their baptismal vows, their commitment to lead a Christian life, and intention to set an example as they enter young adulthood. This is especially important for our younger girls to see and experience.
After mass, we host their reception on our basketball court, which is beautifully decorated for the special occasion. We have a lovely dinner specially prepared, followed by dancing with music from a DJ and of course a beautiful Quinceañera birthday cake. Each of the girls is also given a necklace, usually a cross provided by one of their sponsors or a Godparent.
It’s a joyful day — and one that everyone in the Our Little Roses community looks forward to each year!
Each Quinceañera is escorted down the aisle of the church with her sponsor or an important person in her life.
We hope you enjoyed learning about Honduran Quinceañera traditions. Would you like to support events like these at Our Little Roses? Find out more about how you can sponsor one of our girls or start a fundraiser.