Children’s Celebrations

Hispanics see their children as gifts from God, and hence, express through rites and customs, their willingness to dedicate them to His service from infancy.

El Bautizo (Baptism)

Baby in Baptism GownBaptism is a rite of initiation into the faith. It a rite of “washing” with water as a sign of religious purification and consecration. To the Hispano, el Bautismo (the sacrament of Baptism) binds the child to God, and is a public affirmation of the parents’ and godparents’ commitment to teach and mentor the child in the Christian faith. The ceremony takes place among the church congregation and people who want to be present at the event, and who welcome the child into the faith family.

The role of the godparents is a deeply significant one. “To be a godparent is to be more than someone who simply fulfills an honorary ceremonial task at the moment of baptism. Compadrazgo (godparentage) usually involves a solemn commitment to the family as friend, confidant and advisor – and a commitment to become a true ‘other parent’ to the newly baptized child. After the baptism, the parents and godparents will address each other as compadre or comadre – a term that implies a close and sacred relationship.”  1

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Among many Hispanics, there is a deep devotion to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the “Patroness of the Americas.” This devotion is manifested in prominent displays of Our Lady’s image on baptismal gowns, Bibles, prayer cards and rosaries.

El Ángel de la Guarda (Guardian Angel) is also lovingly conspicuous on prayer books and Bibles. A framed photo of the Guardian Angel is often given as a gift to hang over the child’s bed.

Guardian Angel

La Presentación del Niño (the Presentation)

Little girl in a fancy blue dress“The Presentation rite is traditionally celebrated at one of two moments in the life of a child. It can be done within 40 days after birth…”1 as a way of giving thanks to God for new life and a safe delivery. This is reminiscent of the presentation of the Child Jesus at the Temple: (Luke 2:22-35) “When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord.”

Or, the Presentation may instead be celebrated when the child has reached his or her third birthday.

These blessing ceremonies take place among the family and within the larger community. Parents present their child before God and His people asking for grace and wisdom in carrying out their responsibilities.

And, in true Latino fashion, the celebration continues with the fiesta in the family’s home.

Quince Años (the Fifteenth Birthday)

Quince Años DanceThe Quince Años is a Hispanic tradition of celebrating a young girl’s coming of age – her 15th birthday. It celebrates the young girl (la Quinceañera), and recognizes her journey from childhood to maturity. In the Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central and South American traditions, the custom can be referred to as Quince (XV) Años, Quinces, Quinceañera, Quinceañero or Fiesta Rosa. It is traditionally celebrated with a church ceremony followed by an oftentimes elaborate reception with music and dancing. For more detail on this beautiful custom, see our webpage, Quince Tradition.

1 – Primero Dios – Hispanic Liturgical Resource, Francis, Mark R., Pérez-Rodriguez, Arturo J.