Christine Van Fleet wins the ‘Featured’ spot this month for her outstanding creation of a Quinceanera Invitation and Reply card for her two nieces.
This is what Christine had to say about the Quinceanera celebration…
I was honored when my nieces, Victoria and Vanessa, asked me to design a logo and invitations for their combined fifteenth and sixteenth birthday party. The fifteenth is called a Quinceanera, a traditional Latino celebration of a girls’ passage into womanhood. The party is a very big affair, almost like a wedding, so the invitations really had to stand out. I chose a nice shiny metallic paper to use, and frustrated with poor customer service, lack of paper selection, and inability to use my special paper at a certain big-name national print shop, sought out and found a wonderful alternative…Paperjam. A small, family-run print shop in my neighborhood. I received personal attention, was able to use my paper (although they do have a great selection); John even spent time working with me to get the colors just right-the colors that absolutely had to match my nieces’ gowns!!!
A bit more information about this traditional Latino celebration…
Quinceañera (lit. meaning One (f.) who is fifteen), sometimes called Fiesta de Quince Años, Fiesta de Quinceañera, Quince Años or simply Quince, is the celebration of a girl’s fifteenth birthday in parts of Latin America and elsewhere in communities of people from Latin America. This birthday is celebrated differently from any other birthday, as it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood. The celebration, however, varies significantly across countries, with celebrations in some countries taking on, for example, more religious overtones than in others.
In Mexico, the birthday girl, known as the Quinceañera, is made-up with elegant makeup. Traditionally, this would be the first time she was to wear makeup, however this is usually no longer the case. The Quinceañera is also expected to wear a formal evening dress. Traditionally, the dress worn by the Quinceañera to this event is an evening ball gown.
In the Mexican tradition – considering the teenager is Catholic – the Quinceañera celebration begins with a Thanksgiving mass. For this mass, the teenager wears a formal dress. Conventionally, the Quinceañera wore a pink dress to symbolize her purity; however, in recent decades, white has become the preferred color. If the Quinceañera chooses, she may wear a white dress with personalized touches, including embroidery, pearls, sequins, or any other adjustment that would best reflect her sense of fashion. She arrives to the celebration accompanied by her parents, godparents, and court of honor. The court of honor is a court of her chosen peers made up of paired off girls and boys, respectively known as “damas” and “chambelanes.” Typically, there are fourteen or seven pairs “damas” and “chambelanes,” which each literally translate to dames and chamberlains. At this religious mass, a rosary, or sometimes a necklace with a locket or pendant depicting the image of Mexico’s patron saint the Virgin of Guadalupe, is awarded to the teenager by her godparents, such necklace having been previously blessed by the church clergy. She is also awarded a tiara. The symbolism behind the tiara is to serve as a reminder that to her loved ones, especially her immediate family, the Quinceañera will always be a princess, however some also see it as denoting she is a “princess” before God and the world. After this, the girl may leave her bouquet of flowers on the altar for the Virgin Mary.
After the Thanksgiving mass, guests gather for a reception where the remaining celebratory events meant to honor the Quinceañera will take place, including the rendering of gifts. This reception may be held at the Quinceañera’s home, at an events room, such as a dining hall, banquet hall, or casino, or in some cases publicly held, similar to a block party. During the reception, the birthday girl usually dances a traditional waltz with her “Chambelan de Honor,” which is her chosen escort, and her court of honor. Many times this section of the celebration is previously practiced and/or choreographed, oftentimes weeks in advance, sometimes even with months of anticipation.