The Quinceanera Customs

There are many customs throughout the Quinceanera celebration. But they can vary by Hispanic culture, by region, and even by family. There is no one way to do a Quinceanera fiesta – each one is unique as each young lady is unique. We encourage families to choose the customs that have special meaning to them and to add to the customs as they wish.

Changing of the Shoes

Custom of the Changing of the Shoes

Quinceanera tradition of the changing of the shoes — a ceremonial custom of the father changing the Quinceanera’s flat shoes to high heels — to symbolize his little girl becoming a young lady.

One of the most popular customs is the Changing of the Shoes. The father or favored male relative ceremoniously changes the young girl’s flat shoes to high heels. This is a beautiful symbol of the Quinceanera’s transformation from a little girl to a young lady.


Quince and Sweet 16 Tiaras Category

Quinceanera being crowned with tiara by mother at reception

Along with the changing or the shoes, the Crowning with the Tiara is also a part of the Quinceanera ceremony. It is traditional for the headpiece worn by the Quinceanera to be ceremoniously replaced with the Tiara. The Crowning is done either by her parents or the godparents giving the gift. The Scepter is also presented to the Quinceanera at the same time.

The Last Doll

Quinceanera with her Last Doll

Quinceanera walks with the Quinceanera Doll she has received from her parents at the Reception.

The Last Doll is a very time-honored custom. It represents the last toy (the things of a child) that the quinceanera will receive from her parents, because hereafter, she will be about the things of a young adult. In some celebrations, the ceremony also includes the Quinceanera surrendering the Doll to a younger sibling signifying her new status as a young woman.


Champagne Glasses Category

Mother and father toasting the Quinceanera with champagne.

At the reception, there is always the toast to the Quinceanera, known as the Brindis. With decorated Champagne Glasses, the guests are invited to offer their congratulations and best wishes.


Guest Favor for a Quinceanera Celebration

Guest favor called a Capia has a quinceanera doll in the center of organza circle with printed ribbon personalized with Quinceanera’s name.

Another custom is to give each guest a Cápia. A small token to commemorate the celebration, it usually has a ribbon with the girl’s name and the date, and is pinned on each guest.

The Vals

The Father-Daughter Dance at the Quinceanera celebration.

Girl Dancing with her Father at her Quince Reception

Probably, the most cherished custom is The Vals, the Father-Daughter Dance. Here the father or honored male family member, leads the Quinceanera in the first dance of the evening – usually to a special song like “De Niña a Mujer” (from child to woman). The father-daughter dance is a special moment in time.

Surprise Dance

Quince Dance

Choreographed dance at the Reception by the Quinceanera and her Court of Honor.

The Quinceanera Waltz is sometimes followed by the Surprise Dance — a specially choreographed performance by the Quinceanera and her Court of Honor. This can range from a simple line dance to a much-rehearsed production complete with props. Music ranges from traditional waltzes to hip-hop dance routines. It is a wonderful way to showcase the quinceanera and her Court, and provide fun entertainment for her guests.