Many Hispanic cultures celebrate girls’ 15th birthdays with una fiesta especial. The quinceañera, or Sweet 15, party traces back centuries and blends Aztec and European rites of passage [source: Alvarez]. Aztec parents would publicly present their 15-year-old daughters to their community to signal the girls' readiness for marriage. Similarly, European royals might have paraded their coming-of-age daughters in court, ushering them into adult society.
Today, Hispanic girls in the United States and Latin America throw two-part quinceañera parties, which typically consist of a special Catholic Mass followed by a reception. The quinceañera honorees wear floor-length gowns, traditionally in white or pale pink to symbolize virginity, and tiaras, which symbolize their femininity. Near the end of the party, fathers will typically change their daughters' shoes from flat slippers to high heels to signify the girls' graduation to womanhood. This time-honored daughter tradition has become even more popular in recent years, and the "Sweet 15" quinceañera is now a $400 million industry in the U.S. [source: Moreno].