The celebration of quince años is a crucial time in the life of a young Hispanic woman.
If you don’t have a traditional understanding of what it is like growing up in the Hispanic-American community, this might all seem out of most people’s budgets.
However, as with weddings, many Hispanic families save for years to provide the celebration for their daughter, granddaughter, goddaughter or niece.
While to an uninformed observer, the financial expenditure may appear far beyond the means of the family, the reality may be very different. The custom of having padrinos/madrinas and esponsores makes it possible for there to be a larger array of donated gifts and services. Family members who are seamstresses, musicians, drivers of limousines, florist shop workers, cooks, bakers and photographers often donate their services as gifts.
The church decorations, food and music for the fiesta, are often provided by family and friends.
This all seems good and fine, but is it necessary?
Of course it is.
The Sacrament of Confirmation is one of the three sacraments of initiation by which the baptized “are more perfectly bound to the Church… and the Holy Spirit endows them with special strength so that they are more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith, both by word and by deed, as true witnesses of Christ.”
The celebration of the quince años complements the Sacrament by providing a special blessing for a young Catholic woman as she enters adulthood, preparing her for her new responsibilities.
While society invites youth to gang membership, drug and alcohol abuse and irresponsible sexual behavior, the Church can offer the Quinceañera an opportunity to reflect on her role as a Catholic Christian woman in a society which often distorts the woman’s role.