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Each of the candles represents a special memory, a moment shared with each person whom she invites to join the ritual.

She expresses her gratitude to these 15 people, whom she will tell how each helped her.

This birthday is celebrated differently from any other as it marks the transition from childhood to young womanhood.

Historically, in the years prior to their fifteenth birthdays, girls were taught cooking, weaving, and about childbearing by the elder women in their communities in preparation for their future roles as wives.

Nowadays, the The celebration is for Latin American girls (or "Latinas" in the US) who, on turning fifteen are no longer considered children, and are honored and introduced into their community as young women.

Contemporary festivities combine Spanish-Catholic traditions with those of Aztec and other indigenous heritages and add in a few modern twists.

In Spanish, and in Latin American countries, the term quinceañera is reserved solely for the girl.

In English, primarily in the United States, the term is used (mostly by non-Latinos) to refer to the celebrations associated with the birthday.In ancient Mexico, the Aztecs and other indigenous peoples had many different ceremonies to mark the passage through the various stages of life. There is also a "man of honor" who accompanies the young woman.Potential suitors present gifts to her family to make up a dowry or bridal wealth.After this, the ceremony of the waltz begins, in which the girl first dances with her father—or the father figure—who passes her on to her friends and relatives.The ball is customarily divided into segments, between which various food dishes are served in order to allow the guests—who are usually close family members and friends—to mingle and enjoy the celebration.Today, the custom remains strongest in Mexico, its likely country of introduction.

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