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Quinceanera Dresses at GownGarden.com

Around the world the celebration most commonly known as a quinceanera is one that marks a transition in a girl’s life as she goes from childhood to womanhood. In Latin America it’s the most important birthday a young woman will ever have. Though the age is always the same (quince anos) how a quinceanera is celebrated depends on the origins and culture of the family.


Here in the U.S., quinceanera is the most common term for the celebration, but that’s not the case in other countries. It goes by many different names, sometimes more than one, including:

 Fiesta de Quince in Argentina

Festa de Debutantes, Festa de Quinze Anos or Baile de Debutantes in Brazil

Quince in Ecuador

Fête des Quinze Ans in the French Caribbean

Fête des Quinze Ans in the French Guiana

Fiesta de Quince in Paraguay

 Vestidos de Quinceanera

 The most important part of the celebration for the guest of honor is vestidos de quinceanera. While different cultures have different quinceanera traditions, one remains the same no matter where the girl’s family is from – the dress.

 The quinceanera is all about a young woman who’s turning quince anos, so it’s important that she look her very best. No matter where you go, vestidos de quinceanera are elaborate, show-stopping gowns that are usually fitted up top with intricate, embroidered details, sequins, and rhinestones. The skirt of the dress is very full, sweeping all the way around the quinceanera in a wide circle. When it comes to color, just about any pigment can be worn. In the Dominican Republic, vestidos de quinceanera are typically very brightly colored. While in Ecuador, teenagers usually wear lighter or pastel colors.

 Making a Grand Entrance 

In nearly every culture that celebrates the quinceanera, the young woman makes a grand entrance at the start of the ceremony, accompanied by an escort. It could be her father, which is the case in countries like Argentina and Ecuador, while in other countries the escort is usually a young man that the quinceanera has chosen. In the Dominican Republic, she is escorted in by a partner of her choice and 14 pairs of guests.

  Dancing the Night Away 

From formal waltzes to choreographed routines that include dozens of people, dancing is the number one form of entertainment at a quinceanera.

 In Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Cuba, The Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Uraguay, and Mexico, the guest of honor will take part in a waltz. Who she dances with depends on where she’s from. In Argentina, Peru, Paraguay, Uraguay, Ecuador, The Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, the waltz is danced with the girl’s father. In Mexico, The Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Cuba, she also waltzes with a partner of her choice. 

 Quinceaneras Can Have Their Cake and Eat It Too 

Many celebrations include a cake and a quinceanera is no exception. This birthday cake is likely to be one of the best cakes a young woman will ever have; cake that is often better than her wedding cake. The cake cutting ceremony usually happens towards the end of the celebration, after the meal has been served and guests have worked up their appetites with lots of dancing. There is typically a toast along with the cake cutting, which is sometimes made in honor of the quinceanera, or in some cultures, it’s made by the young woman herself.


The traditions may be different, but the reason for the celebration is always the same. At the heart of every quinceanera is a young woman turning quince anos; transitioning from a girl to a young woman.