Hispanic Quinceañera marks transition to womanhood, holds religious significance

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com Priscilla Thompson heads to her reception after the completion of her Quinceañera ceremony on Nov. 23 at St. James Catholic Church. A party with friends and family followed the ceremony.

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Priscilla Thompson heads to her reception after the completion of her Quinceañera ceremony on Nov. 23 at St. James Catholic Church. A party with friends and family followed the ceremony.

By Riley Manning

Daily Journal

Last Saturday marked a pivotal moment in the life of Priscilla Thompson, as she commemorated her entrance into womanhood with a customary celebration: the Quinceañera.

A girl’s Quinceanera is a traditional Hispanic ceremony marking her 15th birthday. It is often the girl’s first time to wear makeup, fine jewelry and a formal dress and concludes with a lavish reception.

But the Quinceanera also holds deep religious significance that emphasize gratitude, humility, and love.

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com Priscilla Thompson and her parents, Ted and Raquel, left, bow their heads in prayer during her Quinceañera ceremony.

Lauren Wood | Buy at photos.djournal.com
Priscilla Thompson and her parents, Ted and Raquel, left, bow their heads in prayer during her Quinceañera ceremony.

“The Quinceanera introduces her to society as a lady for the first time,” said Priscilla’s mother, Raquel Thompson. “As a family, it’s an opportunity to give thanks for another year together. It isn’t about the party. It’s about family and Jesus.”

Quinceaneras are celebrated across the globe – in Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador, and elsewhere – and take the better part of the year to plan. In many instances, the parents of the girl seek out sponsors in the community to donate materials or labor to help with the event’s expenses.

Raquel said she began planning the Quinceañera with Priscilla all the way back in June, choosing everything from colors to dresses to food.

“In larger Hispanic and Latino communities, many times a group of girls with birthdays near the same time plan the Quinceañera together,” she said. “The community really comes together to contribute what they can and help make it happen.”

As Raquel and her husband Ted Thompson’s only daughter, Priscilla’s Quinceañera was all the more significant. Relatives and friends traveled from Mexico, Memphis and Nevada to attend.

The Quinceañera follows a pattern similar to the Bar- and Bat-Mitzvahs of the Jewish faith. It begins with a traditional church service honoring the girl and her family, in which Priscilla carried out various customary rituals, including the presentation of 15 roses to Mexico’s patron saint, the Virgin of Guadalupe.

In addition, Priscilla was accompanied by a train 15 young girls in matching orange dresses, each representing a year of Priscilla’s life.

When it came time for her to address the congregation, she called for even more support from her family and her church home, and promised to make them proud.

“I need you now more than ever as I enter this new stage of risk in my life,” she said. “Though my faith is sometimes weak, I will get better every day.”

The Quinceañera was led by Father Lincoln Dall, priest at St. James Catholic Church; Father Albeen Vatti, associate pastor at St. James; and Father Octavio Escobar, Priscilla’s uncle and a priest in Mexico.

“Religiously, Priscilla will renew the covenant that was made with her baptism,” Dall said. “Especially on the occasion of a birthday, it is appropriate to give thanks to God as the author of life. The Quinceañera is a profession of that faith.”

Escobar and Ted said watching Priscilla grow into a woman had been an amazing and quick journey. Despite the ceremony’s tone of sincerity, Ted urged the congregation not to forget it was a gathering of celebration.

“This is a Mass of joy,” he said. “God, we ask you to take her by the hand, and through your grace, allow her to achieve her dreams.”

When the final song was over, Priscilla and a court of friends took a limousine to the reception at the Summit Center. Amid delectables, dancing and princess-themed decorations, the celebration carried on until midnight.

riley.manning@journalinc.com

  • Bucks Swagger

    Who cares…is this really news worthy? She is probably here illegally anyway.

    • TWBDB

      Too bad we can’t deport you for being stupid.
      This article is not only a heartwarming human, interest story it’s educational and appropriately placed in the Lifestyle / Religious section.

      • Bucks Swagger

        Too bad you are a Obama supporter, you and he both ought to be deported.

        • TWBDB

          Moron

  • One Rebel

    I love it when ignorant people attempt to identify with a group of people
    They know nothing about. One day you will regret the day we openly embraced
    A third world invasion. Take a look around the country anywhere else there is an influx of
    Latinos, it changes the landscape of the area forever…negatively. They don’t embrace our culture or language, only seek to drain the money out of America and bring their third world culture with them. It will be our downfall, I guarantee it. It’s not all quinceaneras, fajitas and pinatas

    • TWBDB

      One Rebel, I suppose you or that other fool Bucks Swagger haven’t considered for a moment the fact that millions of US citizens are of Hispanic heritage. Spainish missions dotted the West well before English speaking settlers from the Eastern Coast made their way across the nation. And many of us have actually lived among people of HIspanic hertiage for a very long time. You’re the one who demonstrates ignorance.